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Town discusses ways to absorb higher costs

November 02, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

Increased costs for trash collection and water were major concerns Tuesday night at the Smithsburg Town Council meeting.

Town council members and Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers discussed how the town would absorb the higher costs for trash and water at its regularly scheduled meeting.

The council unanimously voted in favor of seeking other trash collectors after learning earlier in the afternoon that Waste Management planned to raise the town's rates from $13 per unit per month to $22 to $25 per unit, Myers said.

Smithsburg has around 900 units, Myers said.

Smithsburg residents pay $10 per quarter in trash removal fees. Myers said council still was assessing how the increase would affect how much residents will pay.

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Myers said she wasn't sure when or if people would see an increase.

When asked to explain the sudden jump, Waste Management said the increase was supposed to occur over a number of years, but hadn't due to error, Myers said.

Councilman Jerome Martin said recycling could cut down trash fees if more residents participated.

"If we had a decent recycling program, we may not need to pick up twice a week," Martin said.

Myers said the town has held two public forums in order to gauge interest in recycling, but said fewer than six people showed up to each.

Myers also said recycling could add additional costs to trash removal fees.

The council will ask businesses to include how much they charge for recycling in their bids.

Bid packets will be sent to businesses no later than Nov. 18, Myers said.

The council also unanimously agreed to let the town accountant determine how the city would absorb increased water costs.

The City of Hagerstown, the town's water supplier, will charge 13 percent more for water by the end of December, though the actual increase still is subject to change, Myers said.

Town residents pay $24.70 per 6,000 gallons of water used each quarter. Sewer rates are twice that amount. Rates are higher for out-of-town residents.

The increase would affect how much people pay for water and sewer, though the council hopes to phase in the costs incrementally over the next few years, Myers said.

The accountant would determine how much more people would have to pay and how much the town is able to cover.

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