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Sharpsburg residents, council grapple with rising sewer treatment costs

August 20, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG — A Sharpsburg Town Council member pleaded with county officials Tuesday night for help with rising sewage treatment rates, saying that the hikes along with other rising costs of living will make it harder for people to live in the town.

Councilman Russ Weaver said the town uses the Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant to process its sewage.

A large part of the design for the plant that opened in 1994 was to accommodate commercial growth, which has not happened, but the sewer rates continue to rise for residents, Weaver said.

Weaver — who made his comments before a handful of people during a meeting with the Washington County Board of Commissioners at Sharpsburg Town Hall — asked the five commissioners if there is any way to “bend the cost curve” for the town’s sewer rates.

Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham suggested looking at other towns similar to Sharpsburg and studying how they approach such issues.

“There’s got to be a way to sustain towns that don’t want the higher density and growth,” Callaham said.

Weaver also said town officials decided that due to Sharpsburg’s proximity to Antietam National Battlefield, the town did not want to have growth around the historic attraction.

As a result, the town does not get new development that generates additional revenue, Weaver said.

Growth around four of the county’s other towns is currently being examined by officials.

The county is looking at possible land-use changes around Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Hancock and Smithsburg, because those are the areas that are anticipated to see growth in the future.

Tuesday’s meeting was part of the commissioners’ ongoing efforts to meet periodically with town governments.

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