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City Council OKs rate, fee hikes

May 30, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown's $64.8 million budget, which includes several rate and fee increases and funds an additional firefighter and two new police officers, was unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday.

Last-minute changes to the budget made or presented Tuesday included the addition of a 2.5 percent salary increase for city employees. This represents the annual cost-of-living raise that was not funded in earlier versions of the budget, according to City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman.

Council members agreed to offer free admission to the Hager House in City Park for one month this summer, as a test to see if the admission charge should be eliminated.

The budget is for the 2000-2001 fiscal year which begins July 1. The Mayor and council members have been working on the budget since April.

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The budget leaves the city property tax rate at $1.73 per $100 of assessed value.

The budget increases the annual trash pick-up fee by $2. The fee is currently $82 a year.

Water rates will increase by 3.5 percent and sewer rates will increase 3 percent.

According to the city billing office, the average water and sewer customer using 13,000 gallons of water every three months will pay about $7 more a year, after the rate increases go into effect on Oct. 1. Both bills are based on water usage.

Daily greens fees at Municipal Golf Course will increase by 50 cents each in July. The current daily golf fees range from $4.75 to $9.25, depending on whether one is playing 9 or 18 holes, the time one plays and the age of the golfer. Fees for senior citizens are discounted. Year-long passes for individuals, now $165, will go to $200. Full-year passes for families, now $275, will go to $330. The increases for annual passes will go into effect Jan. 1.

Monthly permits for the city-owned parking deck and parking lots around downtown will increase by $2 to $4 on July 1. The cost of monthly parking permits now ranges from $16 to $27.

Permit fees for alarm systems will increase in July. The fee for private residences, now $12, will be $15. The fee for businesses, now $24, will go to $30.

The $40 fine following a third false alarm will increase to $50.

Most of the rate and fee increases approved in the budget must be formally approved by separate ordinances. The council unanimously supported such ordinances on Tuesday.

The salaries of the two new police officers are funded by state grants.

The additional firefighter will fill a position intentionally left vacant in the current year to save money.

The budget also funds two new part-time workers assigned to clean up the downtown area.

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