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(June, 2011) Emmitsburg is considering a budget for fiscal year 2012 that will grow slightly larger while holding the property tax rate steady.

Mayor James Hoover presented his $1.62-million budget to the Emmitsburg Town Council last month and they are expected to pass a version of it before the end of this month. This is about a 4.2 percent increase over the current year’s budget. Hoover said police protection, utilities and fuel costs as the three major increases that led to the larger budget.

The budget also includes $87,000 from the town’s rainy day fund that is being used to balance the budget and avoid a tax increase or additional budget cuts.

The property tax rate is projected to remain at 36 cents per $100 of assessed value. This is slightly higher than the town’s constant yield rate for next year of 35.35 cents. The constant yield is the tax rate the town would have to set in order to collect the same amount of property taxes, not including any new construction.

The proposed budget includes a 2-percent cost-of-living increase for town employees who have not had a COLA for three years. Commission Tim O’Donnell expressed concerns about giving employees a COLA that adds $9,700 to the budget.

Police coverage continues to account for nearly a quarter of the town’s budget. The cost to have three full-time Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies working solely in Emmitsburg next year will be $356,000, up from $327,016 this year. The increase covers additional post-retirement costs for the two deputies.

Once approved, the new budget will go into effect on July 1.

Town submitting grant application on behalf of Daughters of Charity housing project

The Emmitsburg town commissioners voted last month to apply for a $500,000 Maryland Community Development Block Grant to help the senior housing project at St. Joseph’s Provincial House. Homes for America is developing 43 senior housing units in an unused wind of the Daughters of Charity building on South Seton Avenue.

The project would include 31 one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom apartments for senior who are at least62 years old. The residents’ incomes would need to be less than $50,000 to be eligible and rent for the apartments would be $499 to $795 a month for the one-bedroom apartments and $594 to $949 a month for the two-bedroom apartments.

The grant will serve as the town’s financial contribution to the project. The $10-million project is expected to begin sometime next year.

Plenty of rain

Emmitsburg has more than twice as much rain as normal in April, according to Town Manager Dave Haller. In early May, Haller told the Emmitsburg Town Council that the town had gone from a deficit of rainfall to a surplus for the previous six months because of the amount of rain that fell. The average rainfall for the month is 3.8 inches, but the town had 8.5 inches, about half of which fell on April 16. The town now has a 1.3-inch surplus of rain over the previous six months, which helped keep Rainbow Lake full.

Community garden spaces still available

There are still spaces available in the new Emmitsburg Community Garden if you are interested in growing your own vegetables this season. The plots are 10 feet by 5 feet and are located in the northeast section of Community Park.

Residents can reserve their plot with a $20 security deposit that is refundable at the end of the growing season. The person who uses each lot will be responsible for weeding and maintaining it during the season and cleaning it up at the end of the season. Water for the gardens will be available from rain barrels set up near the pool buildings.

The park opens on June 16. Contact the town office at 301-600-6300 if you are interested in a plot.

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