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Water, sewer rates to increase

June 06, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

Most people who use water and sewer services from the Town of Smithsburg soon will be paying more, as the Town Council increased water rates while keeping the property tax rates steady.

Water rates and sewer rates will each increase by 3 percent, except for out-of-town, sewer-only customers, according to unanimous votes by the council Tuesday.

The council also voted to maintain a tax rate of 28 cents per $100 of assessed property value. With the increase of the town's assessable base, the town could have maintained its current tax revenues by lowering its rate to 25.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, according to information provided by the town.

"We have not changed our tax rate for at least 50 years," Mayor Mildred "Mickey" L. Myers. "Of course, your assessments have changed, but we have no control over that."

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Quarterly rates for in-town users of 6,000 gallons of water and sewer services will go up from $81.51 to $83.96, and from $116.77 to $120.27 for out-of-town users, according to information provided by the town. Clerk-Treasurer Betsy Martin said Bay restoration fund fees of $7.50 still will be added to the bills.

Out-of-town customers who use only sewer services will continue to pay $165 a quarter, Myers said.

A new water budget passed Tuesday by the council shows a shortfall of $76,021 in the coming fiscal year, which starts in July. Martin said the budget reflects the 3 percent increase, and she said surpluses in past years can make up the deficit. The new general fund's bottom line is $448 after expenses, and the sewer fund also is projected to finish the coming fiscal year in the black.

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