Budget for 2004 unanimously approvedunanimously approved

June 10, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - As with last month's public hearing on water and sewer rate hikes, members of the public didn't attend Monday night's hearing prior to the approval of the town's fiscal year 2004 budget of $1,476,673.

The budget, which still is affected by the upcoming upgrade of Clear Spring's aging water system, was approved unanimously.

Receipts from local, county and state taxes plus interest income are expected to total $61,316.

Highway receipts are listed at $73,434, while the town's water system is expected to total $1,164,573, which includes a more than $1 million loan from the Maryland Department of the Environment for the upgrades.

Those upgrades were mandated by the state of Maryland after a number of below-average test results came in on water being pumped from the town wells, which supply customers on the town's water system.


Last year's regional drought took its toll on the water quality, Clear Spring Mayor Paul Hose Jr. said throughout the testing process.

Vice Mayor Julie Albowicz said Clear Spring received a record 9.3 inches of rain in May this year, making it one of the wettest in history.

In the new budget, revenue from the town sewer system in fiscal year 2004 is expected to bring in $177,350.

While Clear Spring residents will enjoy another year of free trash collection, both the water and sewer rates had to be raised because of the cost of the upgrades necessary to bring the water system up to standards.

Beginning with the bills that will be received in October, in-town water customers will pay $46.25 per quarter for water, while out-of-town customers will pay $69.40 per quarter.

The old quarterly sewer rate of $85 for all customers jumps to $102 for the first 12,000 gallons of water used. A charge of $3.45 is levied for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Hose said equipment should be arriving this week as the initial stages of the water system upgrade get under way.

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