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Council considers raising water and sewer rates

November 14, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

FUNKSTOWN - Rate hikes could greet residents in Funkstown next year, officials said Monday.

Water and sewer rate increases would help fund a state loan for the new wastewater treatment plant, town attorney Robert E. Kuczynski said. Because the state is helping pay for the project, the town has its "back up against the wall," as far as determining whether to increase the rates, he said.

Garbage pickup increases, which are not related to the wastewater treatment facility, could be "a couple bucks, not much," Kuczynski said.

The town might have to increase water and sewer fees by 5 percent each of the next two years, Clerk/Treasurer/Tax collector Brenda L. Haynes said.

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According to figures provided by Haynes, the total quarterly water and sewer costs for in-town users of 11,500 gallons would increase from $160.79 to $168.77 next year.

For out-of-town users' bills of the same usage, the cost would increase from $214.90 to $225.57, Haynes' numbers show.

At its meeting, Town Council did not make any decisions about the rate increases, but it introduced a bond ordinance for as much as $2.2 million to help cover the cost of the wastewater treatment plant. According to information provided by Haynes, the Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration would loan the money.

"It's like signing a mortgage with the bank," Kuczynski said before the vote to introduce the ordinance.

After the meeting, Haynes said the plant project's total cost is estimated at more than $3.6 million. Funding includes more than $1.4 million in grants, with the bonds covering the rest, she said.

The town's total bond liability would be about $2.166 million, Haynes said.

Construction on the plant is scheduled to begin next year, Haynes said.

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