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Williamsport briefs

May 14, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Council to consider sewer rate increase

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport Town Council is considering raising the town's sewer rate 5 percent next year to offset a county increase.

The town gets its sewer service from Washington County, which is proposing to raise its wholesale rate by 7 percent starting July 1.

Williamsport officials discussed the increase on Monday, though, as if it would be 12 percent - from $4.36 to $4.90 per 1,000 gallons.

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David Swain, the county's deputy director of water quality, explained Tuesday afternoon that the town was using an old figure. Last year's rate was $4.36; the current rate is $4.58, he said.

Told on Tuesday that the increase to the town would be 7 percent instead of 12 percent, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said, "Well, that's great news."

During Monday's meeting, the town council talked about pulling money from its general fund to subsidize the rest of the county's sewer-rate increase, beyond the 5-percent hike the town is considering.

McCleaf said during the meeting the town would need to transfer about $32,000 from the general fund, then make cuts to offset the transfer.

Now, the town might need to only take about $10,000 from the general fund, McCleaf said Tuesday.

The town buys its water from the City of Hagerstown and bills its customers. A preliminary draft of the city's budget calls for a water-rate increase - which the town would have to pay - but Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II has asked city staff to find a way to eliminate the increase.

The town will hold a public hearing on June 9 at 6:30 p.m. on its proposed water and sewer rates for the next fiscal year.

Fourth-grader's essay best in county

WILLIAMSPORT - At Monday's town council meeting, Williamsport Elementary School student Charlotte Strite read her essay that was chosen as the best in the county.

The annual "If I Were Mayor, I Would ..." essay contest for fourth-graders is sponsored by Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Mayors' Association.

Councilman Jeff Cline said Washington County had 430 entries, the second-highest number in the state. Overall, 2,360 Maryland students entered, he said.

For having the best entry in Washington County, Charlotte will get a $250 savings bond.

Among her ideas for Williamsport were: a museum on the town's history, weekly guest readings at the library, street dances, entertainment at nursing homes and safety inspections of buildings and playgrounds.

U.S. Cellular wants space on water tower

WILLIAMSPORT - Edward Kuczynski, the town's attorney, said he reviewed a request by U.S. Cellular to rent a town water tower to put up 10 antennas.

Kuczynski said the proposal isn't as simple as collecting rent and offering space.

The cellular company would be responsible for its "gross negligence" if it damaged the tower, but the town would be liable if there were a lower level of negligence, Kuczynski said.

He said it would be a burden for the town to make sure the antennas' frequencies don't clash with other local frequencies.

In addition, he said, the arrangement could be seen as favoritism if another company asks for a similar arrangement, but the town says no.

"Once you start the process, how do you stop it?" Kuczynski said.

Resident deputies responded to 307 calls

WILLIAMSPORT - The Washington County Sheriff's Department's resident deputies responded to 307 complaints in Williamsport in April, according to a report shared with the town council on Monday.

Deputies arrested seven people, including six juveniles, the report says.

They issued nine speeding tickets, 28 other tickets and 72 warnings.

Deputies also found a missing person, charged someone in an identity-theft case, investigated two auto thefts and checked on two bars, the report says.

Alley repairs planned

WILLIAMSPORT - The town is planning to repair 10 alleys, Clerk/Treasurer Donnie Stotelmyer said Monday.

The estimated cost of the overlay project is $50,945. State aid will cover $40,756, leaving the town to pay the balance of $10,189, according to a summary of the project.

Three Scout troops to use Byron Park

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport Town Council agreed Monday to let three Boy Scout troops use Byron Memorial Park at separate times next month.

The troops are from Lutherville, Md.; Abbottstown, Pa.; and Shippensburg, Pa.

Council OKs bigger concession stand

WILLIAMSPORT - Conococheague Little League received the town council's approval on Monday to expand its concession stand.

League President Walter Williams said the extra eight feet will be used for storage.

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