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Some may get break on 'flush tax,' other fee

April 12, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT - Under measures passed by the Williamsport Town Council on Monday, some town residents may be spared paying a "flush tax" or a higher garbage-collection fee.

The town council voted unanimously to establish guidelines for granting exemptions for both fees.

To avoid the state's $2.50 Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund fee, Williamsport residents must meet two out of four criteria:

- The sewer bill account holder receives supplemental security income, food stamps or Medicaid

- The sewer bill account holder receives veterans' or Social Security disability benefits

- The household receives an energy assistance subsidy

- The household meets an income guideline.

James R. Castle, the acting clerk/treasurer, said the state established the criteria.

The state established the restoration fund two years ago. Each home served by a wastewater treatment plant each month is charged $2.50, which has been nicknamed a "flush tax." The money is supposed to help upgrade sewage treatment plants, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment's Web site.

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The town council also voted to increase the per-household cost of trash collection from $5 per month to $10 per month, but with the same standards to grant exemptions.

Town residents who are at least 65 years old and qualify for the restoration fund exemption also may avoid paying the higher trash-collection fee. For them, the cost will stay at $5 per month.

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