Funkstown briefs

October 14, 2003

Auditor: Town may have to raise rates

Funkstown is "very fiscally responsible," but may need to raise water and sewer rates to keep future losses at a minimum, an auditor told the town mayor and council on Monday.

Rodney L. Saunders, a partner with McGladrey and Pullen, a Frederick (Md.) accounting firm, presented the Funkstown Mayor and Town Council on Monday with an audit report for the 2003-2004 fiscal year.

Saunders said the town used 4 million gallons of water more than they did the prior year, which he said may have been due to a large fire or leaks.

"This may be a sign of a problem, it may not," he said.

Funkstown Mayor Robert L. Kline said there have been three breaks in the water lines over the past year.

"Residents are getting billed properly," Saunders said, but added that the mayor and town council may want to consider either raising water and sewer rates or reducing costs to prevent losing money.


He said combining water and sewer rates is fine, but with water taking in less revenue and sewer taking in more, the combination "results in a loss that's been growing over the past three years."

Assistant Mayor Paul N. Crampton said he would like to "reconcile our water bills every quarter."

Mayor Robert L. Kline said after the meeting that the town staff is working on a plan to see if a system could be set up that would allow people to pay for the amount of water they use.

He said now, and for many years in the past, the town has billed residents for 6,000 gallons of water, whether or not they use that amount.

Residents of Funkstown had their water and sewer rate raised this year, he said.

Among his other suggestions, Saunders said the mayor and town council may want to see if they can get a lower interest rate on their general obligation bonds, which have a rate of 8.76 percent.

Kline said the town will look into it.

Lions Club to host ham, oyster dinner

The Funkstown Lions Club will hold a ham and oyster dinner Saturday, Oct. 25, from 2 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Funkstown fire hall.

Tickets cost $14 for adults and $7 for children. Proceeds benefit Lions Club community projects.

Ramer: Oak Ridge Drive traffic a problem

Funkstown Town Council Member Kim Ramer asked at the town's meeting Monday that a traffic pattern be examined at a major intersection.

He said some town residents have told him that a traffic jam, caused by traffic coming from Oak Ridge Drive into town, could be curbed by keeping drivers from turning left onto Frederick Street between 3 and 6 p.m., when traffic is heaviest.

Ramer said only so many cars can squeeze through the green lights at one time, and by keeping cars from turning, traffic would flow more freely.

He said after the meeting that the state roads and traffic departments won't give the town a reason why they can't place a sign like that on the traffic light.

Town employees to gather data for grant

In the next couple of weeks, Funkstown Town Clerk Brenda Haynes and Town Secretary Kelli Roser will go to the homes of people in and around Funkstown who use the town's water and sewer to drop off surveys regarding their household income.

Haynes has said she plans to apply for an $800,000 Community Development Block Grant by July 1. If the town receives the grant, it could put the funds toward repairing the lagoon.

She said $800,000 is the maximum a town can receive in one fiscal year.

In order for the town to qualify for the money, 51 percent of town residents must have a low to moderate income.

She said the census reported only 43 percent of Funkstown fell into that category.

She said the incentive for filling out the surveys, which will come with self-addressed, stamped envelopes, is that taxes and water and sewer bills won't have to be raised if the town gets the money.

Assistant Mayor Paul N. Crampton suggested that the surveys be handed out on the weekends when town residents are likely to be home.

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