Williamsport water rate to rise in 2006

December 14, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT - The town's water rate is going up 5 percent next year.

The Williamsport Town Council unanimously approved the increase Monday so the town can keep pace with Hagerstown, which sells Williamsport its water.

Hagerstown decided in October to raise its rates, mostly for out-of-city customers.

Also, Williamsport is eliminating a minimum charge for water customers, just as Hagerstown did.

Last month, Hagerstown gave Williamsport, Funkstown and Smithsburg - the three Washington County municipalities that buy city water - a 90-day reprieve on higher rates.

The 16 percent discount for the municipalities is in place through the end of February.

The Williamsport Town Council unanimously passed its increase Monday as an emergency ordinance, allowing its new rate to take effect Jan. 1.


The council held a public hearing on the proposed increased first, but no citizens spoke.

Councilman Earle R. Pereschuk Sr. presented a chart that shows the old water rate as $11.99 for a minimum of 2,000 gallons.

The 5 percent increase means the same 2,000 gallons will now cost $12.59.

However, the town has eliminated the minimum charge for 2,000 gallons, so bills will be calculated on straight usage, according to Pereschuk.

Hagerstown had billed customers for at least 10,000 gallons of water per quarter, but also eliminated the minimum charge.

Williamsport is about to start billing its water customers quarterly, so the first bill with the increase in place will be sent in April, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said.

The Funkstown Town Council voted last month to pass along a 7 percent rate increase to its customers next year.

Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers has said her town might spread out a 12.6 percent increase over a few years, possibly by using its surplus fund.

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