Smithsburg budget adds cop, cruiser

May 24, 2002|BY TARA REILLY

A third police officer eventually will be patrolling the town of Smithsburg.

The officer, along with a new cruiser, is included in the town's fiscal year 2003 budget, which the Smithsburg Town Council approved in a special meeting Thursday night.

The Town Council voted 4-1 to approve the budget. Councilman Mike Rohrer voted against it.

The general fund budget lists revenues at $672,331 and expenditures at $666,468, leaving a surplus of $9,863.

The property tax rate will not increase, staying at the same at the same level it has been for at least 40 years.

Mayor Tommy Bowers said the third police officer is long overdue.

"We've been trying to get a new police officer for four years," he said. "We finally got one."

The officer's starting salary will be $26,000. The budget also includes $23,000 to buy a new Ford Crown Victoria patrol car, which replaces a 1993 Crown Victoria.


The 2003 budget goes into effect on July 1, but Bowers said the officer probably wouldn't be hired by then. He said it will take some time to find and train an officer.

The water tax rate will increase 3.5 percent because the city of Hagerstown, which provides water to Smithsburg, is raising its rates by the same amount, Clerk/Treasurer/Manager Betsy Martin has said.

The town's property tax rate in the 2003 budget will remain at 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, the same as this year.

The town's sewer rate also is going up 3.5 percent.

The $662,468 in expenditures for fiscal 2003 is about 29 percent lower than this fiscal year's actual spending of $931,474.

Next fiscal year's expenditures are lower because of a significant reduction in state parks grants. This year's budget includes $250,000 worth of park grants, compared to next year's allotment of $15,000.

The reduction is a result of the state trimming the Project Open Space fund, town officials have said.

The budget also includes $36,000 for a new public works building and raises of 3 percent for town employees and 3.5 percent for department heads.

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