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City budget calls for increased sewer rates

May 23, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council narrowly passed the city's fiscal year 2007-08 budget by a 3-2 vote Tuesday night.

In addition, the council voted to increase sewer rates by 8.5 percent for customers living inside the city and 16 percent for customers living outside the city.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said he will sign the budget for final approval by the June 1 deadline.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer and Councilman Martin Brubaker cast the dissenting votes.

Cromer said she felt that more spending could have been cut from the budget to help reduce a projected deficit.

The 2007-2008 budget is projected to have close to a $3,000 carry over at the end of the year.

According to city budget documents, the deficit is projected to soar in excess of $1 million by fiscal year 2008-09.

Brubaker said he voted against the budget because he favored hiring nine firefighters over the course of three years, rather than all at once in February 2008.

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He made the suggestion last week during preliminary budget discussions as a cost-saving measure.

"It would still provide for the nine firefighters," he said.

Although the budget allocates funding to hire nine additional firefighters, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the personnel wouldn't be added unless the council gives its approval.

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said she wished that she could have opposed the budget, but the city desperately needs to enhance its fire department.

Revenue from the sewer-rate increase will help pay for operations and upgrades at the city's wastewater treatment plant, City Finance Director Alfred Martin said last month.

The proposed increase would cost city customers an additional $4.28 per quarter, he said. Sewer rates would increase about $13.23 per quarter for customers living outside the city.

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

The council also voted to freeze the property tax rate at 79.8 cents for every $100 of assessed value of all real property, and $1.995 for every $100 of assessed value of all business personal property within the City of Hagerstown.




How they voted



Hagerstown City Council members approved the proposed budget for fiscal year 2008 by a 3-2 margin.

Councilman Martin Brubaker No

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer No

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner Yes

Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh Yes

Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean Yes

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