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Wastewater treatment plant construction to begin soon

January 09, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

FUNKSTOWN - With any luck, the Town of Funkstown could begin using its new wastewater-treatment plant around the next new year.

Residents will begin realizing the costs of the multi-million-dollar project a little sooner, thanks to service rate hikes.

"We're getting closer to construction," Town Clerk/Treasurer/Tax Collector Brenda L. Haynes said Thursday.

The new treatment plant and improvements at Funkstown Community Park top the list of changes town residents can expect this year.

Charlotte Browning, who owns a Main Street collectibles store, said she just wants to see the town prosper.

"I'm just hoping that the businesses keep growing, and we see more business coming into town," said Browning, of Hagerstown.

On Thursday, a Myersville, Md., woman dropped in at Never Enough at the Cranberry Cottage. The woman said her sister, who lives in Ohio, also has shopped at Browning's store.

The Town Council approved across-the-board rate increases of 5 percent for water and sewer services Monday. Members also passed a $2-per-quarter increase for trash pick-up, Haynes said.

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On Thursday, Haynes said customers who receive monthly bills for water and sewer services will begin seeing a rate increase in February. For quarterly customers, the new charges will not be noticeable until April, she said.

"If we don't raise the rates, then we don't get that funding. If we don't get that funding, then we're not in compliance with MDE," Assistant Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr.

The rate increase will help pay for construction of the new treatment plant, which is mandated by Maryland Department of the Environment. The Town Council voted to borrow more than $2.16 million from the state, which verbally has agreed to allow Callas Contractors Inc. to do the work, Haynes said.

A formal approval still was forthcoming Thursday, Haynes said.

The town's tentative scheduled calls for work to start March 1 and to finish Dec. 28, Haynes said.

The town also plans to apply for $55,000 in Program Open Space funds to pay for park improvements. That work might not begin until 2008, Haynes said.

Residents this year can look forward to enjoying the park's new pavilion, basketball court, lighting and landscaping. Open-space money funded the project, which could be done by the end of summer, Haynes said.

Mayor Robert L. Kline said the state continues to study traffic near the intersection of Poplar and Chestnut streets, which residents have complained about repeatedly.

He said a months-old contract with the Washington County Sheriff's Department to provide extra patrols at certain times of the day has paid dividends, but he said he saw no reason to expand the $15,000 program.

"No need for that, it'd be a waste of money," Kline said.

Other than the treatment plant work, Haynes said, there will be few changes in town.

Residents need not even worry about a disruption in services - Haynes said town officials have been told the transition of services, from the current lagoon system to the new plant, will be seamless.

"We want it to be a very easy year, so we can get the plant," she said.

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