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Firm recommends water, sewer rate hikes

November 12, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - A 35 percent increase in the water rate and 20 percent rise in the sewer rate may be necessary in order for the Town of Clear Spring to break even with the costs of actually providing those services.

Pat Kline of Kline and Co., certified public accountants, recommended rate hikes that would increase the average yearly water bill by $120 and the average yearly sewer bill by $68.

No action was taken Monday night on boosting those rates since the town is about a month away from getting the results of an analysis of the overall situation with several mandated improvement projects factored in.

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"We'll know very soon what we will need and how much the rates will have to increase," Town Clerk Juanita Grimm said.

Water customers living within town limits currently pay $18 and out-of-town residents pay $27 per quarter. Sewer charges are $85 per quarter for all customers.

Kline said the town is currently spending $2.40 to provide 1,000 gallons of water to customers as compared with $2.09 a year ago.

With in-town customers paying $1.50 for 1,000 gallons and out-of-town customers paying $2.25, the combined loss is beginning to take its toll, Kline said.

As for sewer services, the expense to treat 1,000 gallons of sewage is $7.95 while customers are paying only $7.08 under current rates, Kline said. Last year the expense was $7.99 - nearly unchanged and that represented a money-losing situation that has gone on for many years, Kline said.

Sewer lost a combined $45,000 in 2000 and 2001, Kline said.

Mayor Paul Hose Jr. said the good news is that only 55 more water meters need to be installed townwide. Water customers will then be charged according to usage rather than at a fixed rate as they are now.

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