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City budget approval expected

May 21, 2001

City budget approval expected



By DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council is scheduled to give final approval Tuesday to a $74.8 million budget for the coming fiscal year, which includes a 5.8 percent property tax increase.

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The council is also planning to approve increases to water and sewer rates and trash collection fees, and establish a new fire suppression fee for the 2001-2002 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

-- The real estate property tax rate would increase from 69.2 cents per $100 of assessed value to 73.2 cents. For a homeowner with a $100,000 home, the property tax bill would increase by $40, according to City Finance Director Al Martin.

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-- The city tax on business equipment, which is linked to the real estate tax rate, also would increase 5.8 percent. That tax rate, which is now $1.73 per $100 of assessed value, would increase to $1.83 per $100 of assessed value.

Martin said that increase would cost a business owner with $100,000 in equipment an additional $100 a year.

The amount a business owes on the business equipment tax is based on the cost, minus depreciation, of furniture, fixtures, tools and most equipment not used for manufacturing, Martin said.

-- The city's trash collection fee would increase $4 a year. The charge, now $21 every three months, would go to $22 every three months, if approved Tuesday.

-- Water rates would increase 3.5 percent in October. The increase would cost an average city water customer an additional $2.36 a year. The average customer's quarterly bill, which is currently $16.90, would rise to $17.49 for 13,000 gallons used.

-- Sewer rates would increase 3 percent in October, which would cost an average customer an additional $4.84 a year. The average bill would increase from $40.30 every three months to $41.51 per quarter, for 13,000 gallons used.

-- The new fire suppression fee would be charged to the occupant or owner of a property the fire department responded to. The charge would be no more than what would be paid by that person's insurance.

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