Council takes initial action to increase connection fees

June 22, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS


The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted to introduce an ordinance that would increase several water and sewer connection fees related to new buildings, including what could be an additional $4,800 per new city home in so-called benefit charges.

The measure passed on a 5-0 vote after no one challenged the proposals during a public hearing earlier in the council's Tuesday night meeting.

For the charges to take effect, the council must cast a second vote in favor of adopting the measures. That vote is currently scheduled for July 12.


Two weeks ago, consultants hired by the city said the City Water and Sewer Department has been undercharging new customers to the system.

The consultants advised the city to increase a number of fees to reflect the true cost of adding to the system.

Water and Sewer Department Manager David Shindle said that, according to the consultant study, the cost of system expansion was being paid partly by those already connected to the system.

The hardest-hit customers likely will be those paying for the water and sewer connections to new homes.

For a new home built inside city limits that connects to both the water and sewer system, the cost will rise from about $2,100 in so-called benefit charges - one-time charges to connect to the system - to $6,900.

For a new home built outside city limits, those same costs would rise from about $2,700 to $7,500.

The proposed ordinance would also increase annual fees for commercial customers that have their own fire suppression lines, and quarterly fees for homes that need added sewer pumping pressure.

Other industrial charges that are different for city and county customers would be merged, and a quarterly debt service charge for certain water customers would be reduced by about $13.

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