Living in city has its perks

March 07, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - City officials want to attract more residents to Hagerstown by stressing the benefits of living in the city.

Kathleen Maher, the city's planning director, said Tuesday during a City Council work session that developers can use the information as a promotional piece to draw potential residents.

Some of the benefits she mentioned included public safety, trash collection, and competitive sewer and water rates.

The Hagerstown Fire Department's average response time, for example, is three minutes. Response times in other parts of the county can average up to 20 minutes or more, she said.

"You would definitely have the benefit of quicker response times ... Every minute helps if your house is on fire," Maher said.


With 103 officers covering an 11-square-mile area, city law enforcement officials can respond faster as well, she said.

Maher also mentioned that the city's water rate is 50.5 percent lower than Washington County's, and the sewer rate is 37.9 percent lower.

The city charges the same rate for electricity as Allegheny Power, but that will change over the next few years when the utility company increases its rates, she said.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner suggested that Maher should include information in the city's promotional literature about Allegheny Power's plan to increase rates 45 percent over the course of 2008 and 2009.

The city's electric rates would stay the same, he said.

"(The city's rates) are practically the cheapest in the area - certainly much cheaper than it is to live in the county," Metzner said after the work session.

In addition, Maher said the city also offers curbside trash and recycling pickup for $150 per year.

County residents pay about $300 per year for trash pickup, according to a document Maher provided to the council. That figure doesn't include recycling.

Benefits in brief

A few benefits of living in the City of Hagerstown:

· Water rates are 50.5 percent lower than Washington County's.

· Sewer rates are 37.9 percent lower than Washington County's.

· An average 30-minute response to power outages after storms.

· Police and sheriff services have 103 officers covering an area of 11 square miles.

· Fire service has an average response time of three minutes.

· Curbside trash and recycling collection costs $150 per year, compared to about $300 per year in the county for trash collection.

Source: Hagerstown Planning Department

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