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Auditor tells town officials to keep an eye on sewer costs

November 12, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - The town of Funkstown received a good audit report for the last fiscal year, but the auditor cautioned town officials Monday night to keep an eye on their ability to cover sewer costs.

The town had a $53,877 loss in its water and sewer fund for the fiscal year that ended June 30, said Rodney L. Saunders, a partner with McGladrey & Pullen in Frederick, Md.

Leaking lagoons that require expensive repairs will increase sewer expenses, Mayor Robert Kline said after the regular monthly meeting of the Mayor and Town Council.

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The Town Council will vote at its Dec. 9 meeting whether to introduce a 3.5 percent water rate increase to match the City of Hagerstown's rate increase, town officials said. Funkstown uses City of Hagerstown water.

Since the sewer rate is 75 percent of the water rate, the sewer rate would go up with the water rate, Town Clerk Brenda Haynes said.

Kline said council members will wait and see what effect that increase has before deciding whether a separate sewer rate increase is needed.

If the water rate increase is introduced in December, the council will vote in January whether to approve the increase that could go into effect as soon as the April water bills.

Now water customers pay $29.28 per quarter for up to 6,000 gallons of water, Haynes said. They pay an additional $4.27 per extra 1,000 gallons of water.

The cost of the town's trash collection has gone up. Starting Nov. 1, Waste Management of Shenandoah Valley raised the town's rate from $4,201 a month to $4,408 a month, Haynes said.

The town charges residents $22 per quarter per unit for trash collection.

Kline said the town will absorb the trash cost increase for now and review the situation while preparing the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2003.

For the last fiscal year, the town had a $43,105 general fund surplus. Revenues were up $22,271 over the previous fiscal year and expenses were $13,242 lower.

A big part of the revenue increase was due to one sentence Haynes added to last fall's town newsletter.

Haynes reminded town residents to write "Funkstown" in the city, town or taxing area box when preparing their annual income tax forms. Apparently, a number of town residents had been writing in "Hagerstown," not realizing they lived in neighboring Funkstown, and the town was losing that tax revenue, Haynes said.

The town received $52,244 in income tax revenue last fiscal year. The previous year the amount was closer to $30,000, Haynes said.

The town's general fund balance at the end of this past fiscal year was $99,496.

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