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Taps OK'd for Boonsboro property

January 06, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BOONSBORO -- The owner of a property annexed into Boonsboro about two years ago has taken the first step in helping the town repay a portion of its debt stemming from its wastewater treatment plant project.

Monday, the Boonsboro Town Council approved the connection of 102 taps over the next five years on property along King Road. That 380-acre parcel was annexed into the town in 2006, along with five other undeveloped properties. The annexation totaled 956 acres and doubled the size of the town.

Those property owners are now beginning to help pay what the town owed on its wastewater treatment plant through tapping fees. Tapping fees are $6,500 for water services and $11,000 for sewer services, Councilman Kevin Chambers has said.

It is still unclear what type of development will occur on the property, and any proposals must be approved by the town's planning commission. Chambers said the sites might not be fully developed for 15 years.

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The town approved 102 sewer taps on the King Road property Monday as part of an amendment to the original annexation agreement. The vote was 5-1, with Councilwoman Barbara Wetzel opposed. Councilman Mervin F. "Frank" Nuice was absent.

The town received about $27,000 from that property owner Monday -- the first of its periodic payments, said town attorney William Wantz.

Total fees over five years from those taps are expected to be about $1.1 million. About 1,400 total taps have been approved for the full development of the six properties.

The annexation agreement also includes a donation of land from the property owner for a new elementary school in Boonsboro. Wetzel said she was concerned that officials are not even sure if the site would be suitable for a school.

Washington County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent of School Operations Boyd Michael attended the meeting, along with Facilities Planner Robert Spong and School Board Member Donna Brightman. Michael said approval from the county and state are needed before the site can be accepted for a school.

The amended agreement will be good for the town, Wantz said. Chambers said that without the tap fees, those costs would have be passed down to Boonsboro residents.

"There's only one other way to pay back the wastewater treatment (plant debt) if we don't go through the development process," Chambers said. "And that's to pass it on to residents. I'm not in favor of that."

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