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City Council supports raising city's trash collection fee

May 22, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday unanimously supported raising the city trash collection fee by $2 a year.

A final council vote on the trash fee is scheduled for May 28, as are council votes on increases to the city tax rates, water and sewer rates, and the $79.36 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

During the Tuesday night mayor and council meeting, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman asked council members if they were all OK with the latest version of the proposed budget, which includes the numerous rate and fee increases. Council members didn't respond, and moved on to the next item on their agenda.

The budget the council is scheduled to vote on includes a 4.9 percent increase to the city real estate and business property tax rates.

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To homeowners whose properties are assessed at $100,000, a 4.9 percent increase would add $36 to their annual tax bills.

The expected tax increases are less than the 7.2 percent tax increases Zimmerman originally proposed. The lesser increase is the result of about $300,000 worth of changes the council made to the proposed budget. Those changes included raising the price of city golf course season passes for people living outside the city and raising the city trash collection fee by $2 a year.

The proposed tax increases would help balance the proposed $25.57 million city general fund, which calls for increased spending, including about $1.2 million to cover the additional cost of employee wages and benefits, and about $500,000 in increased spending on vehicles and construction projects.

The general fund is the only city fund that receives money from city taxes. Other funds, such as water and sewer, receive money from user rates and fees.

The council also will vote on the proposal to increase water and sewer rates by 3.5 percent on Oct. 1.

Together, those increases would cost the average water and sewer customer, who uses 13,000 gallons of water every three months, an additional $8.24 a year.

That customer's water bill, now $17.55 every three months, would increase to $18.16 every three months.

Meanwhile, that customer's sewer bill, now $41.47 every three months, would increase to $42.92 every three months.

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