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Funkstown budget workshop produces proposed budget for public hearing May 14

April 16, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN, Md. — Funkstown officials discussed a restructured proposed utility recovery fee for the town’s water customers, as well as the possibility of saving money by cutting back yard waste collection and deputy services during a Monday night budget workshop.

The proposed budget that goes to a public hearing during the 7 p.m. Town Council meeting on May 14 still includes a 4-cent property tax rate hike and a 10 percent water rate increase.

The proposed budget also, for now, still includes weekly yard waste collection during much of the year and $10,800 for a contractual deputy.

During the end of Monday night’s budget workshop at Town Hall, Councilman Robert “Bobby” Rodgers Jr. brought up the issues of yard waste and the deputy hours.

“I don’t know if we’re getting our bang for our buck there,” said Rodgers, referring to the deputy hours.

Town Clerk/Treasurer Brenda Haynes said she had received bids for the town’s trash and yard waste collection services. If the documents are in order, all of the bids came in lower than the $55,000 budgeted for the service.

Rodgers said he wished Town Council members could have had some say in which services were requested, mentioning the possibility of dropping yard waste and adding curbside recycling.

Haynes said if the town dropped yard waste, town officials would probably “really hear” it from residents.

Luke Barnette, who is running for Town Council, said he is a “big fan” of yard waste collection. Suggesting the town cut back yard waste pickup to every two weeks, Barnette said it’s an important service for those who use it.

After the meeting, Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr. said he would consult with the town attorney on whether it’s even possible to ask the bidders on the trash service contract to submit a bid with a change regarding yard waste collection.

The town’s proposed budget includes a temporary utility recovery fee, to help recover the cost of more than $70,000 in water main breaks this past year, that would last for six quarters.

Rather than a flat fee for each account, Haynes restructured the fee so commercial customers who use a lot of water bear more of the financial burden.

An individual household account would pay $150, or $25 per quarter for six quarters, Haynes said.

A rental unit account would pay $150 plus $25 per unit. A unit could be an apartment or trailer, Haynes said.

A commercial unit account would pay $150 plus $25 for every 1,000 gallons of water used over 6,000 gallons per quarter, according to a handout. For the water usage part of the formula, Haynes said she used the average water usage during the last four quarters and would continue to use that figure whether a business’ water usage goes up or down during the time of the temporary charge.

A small business that uses less than 6,000 gallons of water per quarter would pay only the flat $150 fee, Haynes said.

Haynes also added $25,000 to the proposed budget for water line breaks.

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