Funkstown raises tax and water rates, cuts back trash pickup

June 14, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

FUNKSTOWN -- Funkstown residents will see their trash collection cut to once a week and their property tax and water rates increase, but yard waste collection will remain at once a week.

Who will provide the trash and yard waste service is in dispute, with a resolution expected today.

Town Council members on Monday unanimously approved the town's first property tax rate increase in 21 years. The 6-cent increase makes the rate 28 cents per $100 of assessed value. The council also unanimously approved the general fund and enterprise fund budgets.

A few residents inquired as to the need for such increases during a public hearing before Monday night's meeting at Town Hall.

The property-tax rate hike will help the town deal with declining state highway user revenue, decreases in the assessed value of properties in town and a new county property tax structure.


Town Clerk/Treasurer Brenda Haynes said each cent in the town's property tax rate is equal to approximately $4,500 in revenue for the town. The increased town tax rate means the average town property tax bill will increase $20 to $30 a year, but county property tax bills should go down about $8 to $9, she said.

The council also unanimously approved a 4.5 percent water rate hike, passing along an increase from the town's supplier, the City of Hagerstown. That will affect sewer bills as well as water use is part of the sewer rate formula.

The council awarded a contract for trash and yard waste collection, by a 4-2 vote, to Apple Valley Waste, whom they believed was the low bidder. Apple Valley has the current contract that expires June 30.

However Bob Clark, president of Key Sanitation, returned later in the meeting to say he believed his bid was the lowest.

According to bid documents, Key did have the lowest bid at $48,888 a year compared with Apple Valley's $62,654 a year for once-a-week collection for both trash and yard waste.

Haynes said Key's bid was lower, however Key wanted to collect trash on Saturdays and town officials wanted trash picked up on Thursdays.

Clark said he would let town officials know Tuesday if he could accommodate a Thursday collection.

The council voted 6-0 to give Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr., at his request, the power to change the awarding of the contract if town officials could confirm Key had the low bid and Key could pick up trash on Thursdays.

Councilmen Kim Ramer and John Phillips III both voted against the trash/yard waste contract. During the meeting, both said they wanted to see yard waste collection reduced further.

Crampton said he considers going from twice-a-week to once-a-week trash pickup a test. If it doesn't work out, there's money in the budget to do something about it, he said.

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