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County to hold public hearing on water-sewer rates

April 01, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Public hearing on water and sewer rates

  • 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday
  • April 4


Washington County Commissioners meeting room, County Administration Building

A public hearing on Washington County water and sewer rates will be held Tuesday even though, for the first time in five years, there may be no rate increases.

However, there is a proposed increase in water and sewer hookup costs of $250 each year for the next three years. For example, the current sewer hookup fee of $2,750 would increase to $3,500 by July 2003.

If Washington County gets $500,000 for debt reduction, as proposed under a state plan, there would be no water and sewer rate increases next year, Water and Sewer Director Greg Murray said.

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The debt reduction bill has been passed by the House of Delegates but still requires Senate approval. A vote is expected this week.

If the county doesn't get the money from a legislative package, which may also help fund a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns, there would be about an average 2 percent increase in sewer rates, Murray said.

The average residential customer would pay about $8 more per year for sewer service if the rates were increased, he said.

There would still be no water rate increases for the county's customers, even if money from the state plan didn't come, Murray said.

The county has 1,500 water customers and 8,000 sewer customers, he said.

A March 21 County Commissioners vote to take the proposal to public hearing was unanimous, but the actual decision on whether to raise rates will come later this year.

It was previously projected that water and sewer customers would see an average 4 percent increase in water and sewer rates this year, Murray said.

While there would be no rate increases this year if state debt-reduction funds are received, there would probably be about a 3 percent increase in sewer rates for each of the next nine years, Murray said.

Water rates would not go up for the next two years, but would be increased by 2 percent annually for the following eight years, he said.

Last year the commissioners increased rates by 3 percent for sewer service and 2.5 percent for water.

The proposed budget also includes about $2.54 million in general fund subsidies to the water, sewer and pretreatment funds. That would be down slightly from $2.62 million this year.

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