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Rate changes not reflected in audit

November 12, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - The message to Clear Spring town officials was clear a year ago - raise water and sewer rates or continue to face red ink in those crucial town services.

Those rates were increased in April, effective with the quarterly bills that went out in October. But the 2002-2003 audit, which was handed out at Monday night's town meeting, still reflects the state of those funds based on the old rates.

"Usually about this time, I would be explaining why the town must raise those rates," said Pat Kline of Kline and Co., certified public accountants. "But this year, I don't have to do that."

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Previously water customers living within town limits paid $18 and out-of-town residents paid $27 per quarter. Sewer charges were $85 for all customers per quarter.

The cost to the town to provide the water is $2.47 per 1,000 gallons. At the old rates, in-town customers were paying only $1.50 while out-of-town customers were pay $2.25 per 1,000 gallons.

The expense to provide sewer is $5.67 per 1,000 gallons. Under the old rates, customers paid $7.08 per 1,000 gallons.

As of the October billing, in-town water customers pay $46.25 and out-of-town customers pay $69.49 per quarter for water. Sewer charges are now $102 per quarter for the first 12,000 gallons. An additional $3.45 is assessed for every additional 1,000 gallons.

For the fiscal year that ended in June, the town's water fund showed an $8,305 balance. But Kline said that without nearly $10,000 in connection fees and more than $20,000 in rental income, that fund would have shown a loss.

The sewer fund showed a $13,042 loss in the 2002-2003 audit and lost a combined $45,000 in the two previous years, all under the old rates, Kline said.

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