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Preliminary approval given to water, sewer policy changes

February 19, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

The Hagerstown City Council gave preliminary approval to policy changes that would effectively block some potential water and sewer customers outside city boundaries from getting access to the city's services.

During the council work session Tuesday afternoon, city managers proposed the water and sewer service policy along with some phrasing changes to the city's annexation policy.

The city has a standing policy that if a property owner outside the city's boundaries want city water or sewer services, the owner must agree to be annexed.

City officials have said they support expanding the city's borders in an effort to increase the city's tax base.

David Shindle, the Water and Sewer Department manager, said the city's original annexation policy, adopted in May 2002, created a loophole by only considering properties outside the city's boundaries but within an area called the Urban Growth Area. That area extends north to the Pennsylvania state line, south to Williamsport and east toward Smithsburg.

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The problem, Shindle said, is there are some city-owned water and sewer lines outside the Urban Growth Area that remain untapped, and some property owners would like to tap into the city's system.

Shindle said the proposed policy changes help ensure that will not happen.

The proposed policy states that the city won't extend water or sewer service outside the Urban Growth Area unless the Washington County Health Department requests it or the Water and Sewer Department needs to add facilities - such as a water tower - to improve its operation.

The City Council will formally vote on the policies at a later hearing.

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