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Public hearing on county budget set

May 19, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Washington County will present a $196 million general-fund budget to the public for feedback.

A public hearing will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.

Spending in the proposed general-fund budget for fiscal year 2008 is 10 percent higher than this year, County Administrator Gregory Murray said.

Nearly half of that increase is money that will be set aside for capital projects, Murray said. The projects have not been determined.

Without the set-aside money, the general-fund spending increase would be about 6 percent, he said.

The overall budget - including a variety of funds outside of the general fund - is proposed at $309 million, an increase of almost 2 percent from this year, Murray said.

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The Washington County Commissioners have agreed to keep the property tax rate at 94.8 cents per $100 of assessed value.

However, because of rising property values, taxes would go up.

At that rate, the county would take in $7.6 million, or 8.6 percent, more property tax revenue than this year, according to a county tax notice.

The commissioners voted last month to raise sewer and water rates for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

For the average residential water customer - someone using 12,000 gallons per quarter - the cost will go up about 3.5 percent, Murray said.

The cost increase for an average residential sewer customer - also 12,000 gallons per quarter - would be 3.4 percent.

Murray said highlights in the proposed budget include full funding for education, nine new emergency medical positions and five new deputy sheriff positions.

The county has posted a summary of the budget at www.washco-md.net. Click on "FY2008 Summary Budget Packet."

The commissioners are expected to vote on a final budget next month.

If you go



What: Public hearing on Washington County's proposed fiscal year 2008 budget

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater

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