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Preliminary Smithsburg budget includes 6.5 percent water rate hike

May 01, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Smithsburg water customers are facing a 6.5 percent rate hike as part of a preliminary budget the Smithsburg Town Council is considering for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Smithsburg officials are considering the rate hike because the city of Hagerstown, which provides water to Smithsburg, is raising its rates to the town by 6.5 percent, Town Manager Betsy Martin said.

Mayor Mildred “Mickey” Myers reviewed the proposed $1.2 million budget during a regular town council meeting Tuesday night.

The town’s property tax rate of 35 cents per $100 of assessed value will remain the same under the proposed budget.

Town Councilman Donnie Souders spoke in favor of keeping the tax rate the same, saying he has heard that there are a lot of senior citizens who are struggling financially.

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“That’s the reason the water thing kind of scares me,” Souders said.

Because the town’s sewer rates are tied to the water rates, they will increase, too.

Under the proposal, water rates for the first 6,000 gallons of water for in-town customers would go from $33.37 to $35.54 per quarter.

When sewer usage is figured in, water and sewer bills for the first 6,000 gallons of water would go from $98.44 to $104.84.

For each additional 1,000 gallons of water usage, the total bill would increase from $3 to $3.20.

Out-of-town water rates will increase from $44.11 to $46.98 for the first 6,000 gallons of water. When sewer use is figured in, the total bill for out-of-town customers would go from $141.15 to $150.43 for the first 6,000 gallons of water used.

Each additional 1,000 gallons of water used would increase the out-of-town total bills by $3.13.

Council members Tyler Lushbaugh, Shirley Aurand and Souders gave preliminary approval to an ordinance for the general fund budget. Councilmen Troy Jernigan were absent.

Police Chief George Knight told council members he wants to raise salaries for an officer and an administrative assistant.

Knight said he is making some changes in his proposed budget to provide the raises.

Council members are expected to take a final vote on the budget on June 5.

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