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Sewer rates, property taxes could boost city funds

May 16, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council introduced an ordinance Tuesday that would increase sewer rates 8.5 percent for customers living within city limits and 16 percent for customers living outside the city.

If the council passes the ordinance during a regular session May 22, the sewer rate increase would take effect Oct. 1.

Over the past several weeks, the council has discussed increasing the sewer rates to help pay for operations and upgrades at the city's Wastewater Treatment Plant.

City Finance Director Alfred Martin said in April that the increase would cost city customers an additional $4.28 per quarter.

Sewer rates would increase about $13.23 per quarter for customers living outside the city, he said.

The increases are based on 13,000 gallons of quarterly usage, Martin said.

The council voted 5-0 to introduce the ordinance.

By another unanimous vote, the council introduced an ordinance that would keep the property tax rate at its current level.

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Before the council voted, city resident Diane Eves asked its members to consider the elderly living on a fixed income.

She said it's a struggle for senior citizens to make property tax payments even though their homes might be paid off.

Renters also feel the sting by paying more to adjust for their landlords' higher property assessments, she said.

The ordinance would set the property tax rate at 79.8 cents for every $100 of the assessed value of all real property within the city.

The rate would be about $2 for every $100 of the assessed value of all business personal property.

If the council passes the property tax ordinance next week, it would become effective July 1.

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