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Property tax increase could help pay for Clear Spring expenses

December 15, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

CLEAR SPRING - The possibility of increased property tax rates, in addition to anticipated water and sewer rate increases, will be on Clear Spring residents' plates this coming year.

Every two years - 2010 being one of them - town officials raise the water and sewer rates a little to cover the town's related expenses, Town Clerk Juanita Grimm said.

Since the Washington County Commissioners approved eliminating contributions, or tax rebates, to the towns, Clear Spring government officials need to find a way to make up that revenue, Town Clerk Juanita Grimm said.

That means looking at the town property tax rate, which is now 19 cents per $100 of assessed value, Grimm said. A home with an assessed value of $100,000 would result in a $190 property tax to the town.

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Because of state budget cuts this fiscal year, the town will continue to try to get by with patching potholes instead of repaving roads, at least in the current fiscal year, Grimm said.

The Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co. plans to get the apron and parking areas at the fire station repaved, probably around March, Chief Michael Reid said.

The fire company also will begin upgrading its heating system, which is as old as the 33-year-old fire station, Reid said. The current system is an oil-fired boiler with hot water heat. Fire company officials are considering getting radiant heat, using gas, in the firetruck bays this year. That alone will cost around $30,000, Reid said.

The company will work on upgrading heat throughout the rest of the fire station in the next few years.

The Clear Spring Ambulance Club anticipates ordering a new ambulance in the fall, Chief James Miller said. The club has budgeted $150,000 for a new ambulance, which would replace a 1996 vehicle. The club would probably receive the new ambulance in the spring of 2011, he said.

The Maryland State Highway Administration will upgrade traffic-detection equipment at the intersection of U.S. 40 at Big Pool Road west of Clear Spring, spokesman David Buck said.

Motion-sensitive cameras will be placed atop the signals to detect traffic flow and trigger signal light changes, Buck said. The work is expected to cost $15,000 to $20,000, and be done this spring.

In its 30th year, the Clear Spring District Historical Association will make a push to raise money and pursue grants to help finish renovating the Brown meetinghouse across from McDonald's, said David Wiles, president. The two-story log house dates back to 1825 and needs about $80,000 worth of work to complete the renovation so the building can be used as an exhibit hall, Wiles said.

At Plumb Grove, the town's Independence Jam will be held July 3, and the Currier and Ives Christmas will be Dec. 11, Wiles said.

The Clear Spring fire company's carnival will be Aug. 2 to 7, Reid said.

Fort Frederick State Park will hold its market fair April 22 to 25, said Steve Robertson, park historian.

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