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Tax, utility rate increases eyed in Clear Spring

April 13, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

CLEAR SPRING --Clear Spring residents could see their real estate taxes, and water and sewer rates increase to help town officials balance the budget in fiscal year 2010-11.

The proposed utility and real estate hikes were announced Monday during the Town Council's preliminary budget discussions.

Before the $533,848 budget is voted on in June, a public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 10 at Town Hall to give residents a chance to weigh in.

Town Clerk Juanita Grimm said water rates for customers who live in town could increase $2.41 per quarter, or $9.64 per year. Rates for out-of-town customers could increase $14.48 per year, or $3.62 per quarter.

Sewer rates for all customers could increase $10.97 per quarter, or $43.88 per year.

Mayor Paul D. Hose Jr. said town officials are proposing to raise the rates only half as much as auditors suggested.

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"We think everybody's getting punished enough (by the sluggish economy)," he said.

The proposed budget also calls for real estate taxes that the town charges to increase from 19 cents to 25 cents for every $100 of a home's assessed value.

If the Town Council votes to increase real estate taxes, the financial sting felt by residents could be offset by a proposed tax break from the county.

Washington County Commissioner Kristin Aleshire, who was in the audience during Monday's meeting, said county officials are proposing to cut real estate taxes in Clear Spring by 12.5 cents for every $100 of a home's assessed value.

Grimm said the proposed budget does not include pay increases for town employees and elected officials.

If passed, the budget would take effect July 1, at the beginning of the fiscal year.

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