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2005 budget reaches $2,245,904

June 23, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Two big-ticket projects - one long anticipated and the other an unexpected opportunity - skewed the town's fiscal year 2005 budget, sending it soaring to $2,245,904, nearly $1 million more than the current year's budget.

The state-mandated upgrade to Clear Spring's aging water system involves a loan to the town of $1,642,000 from the Maryland Department of the Environment. At the June 14 meeting at which the budget was approved, Mayor Paul Hose Jr. said the state was "forgiving" 20 percent of that amount, meaning the town must repay $1,313,600.

The additional expense in the budget came from an opportunity to buy a house and 22 acres below the town's reservoir west of Clear Spring, Hose said. That property will provide a buffer around the reservoir property and adjacent watershed.

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"And that's not to mention the $1 million-plus buildings that will soon be there in connection with our water system update," Hose said.

He said that adds to the need to purchase the $149,000 property, which includes the house and acreage.

A public hearing was held before the regular June 14 town meeting, but no residents offered on the fiscal 2005 budget.

Receipts from local, county and state taxes plus interest income are expected to total $73,931 in the new budget year. Highway receipts are listed at $55,050.

In the fiscal 2005 budget, revenue from the town sewer system is expected to bring in $177,850.

Water system receipts, minus the land purchase and the upgrade loan, is expected to bring in $148,073.

The budget indicates Clear Spring residents will have another year of free trash collection even though the cost to the town increased from $18,374 to $19,234. Water and sewer rates, which had to be raised a year ago because of the cost of the upgrades, will remain the same in the 2005 budget.

In-town water customers pay $46.25 per quarter for water, while out-of-town customers will pay $69.49 per quarter.

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

The town's fiscal year 2004 budget was $1,476,673.

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