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Town government passes
9.2 million dollar budget

Tare E. Buck
Frederick News Post

The town’s leaders hope to pass a $9.2 million budget for fiscal 2005 on June 8.

A truncated town council met on Tuesday to discuss the budget, though no changes were suggested by residents and none were made.

Mayor Martin Burns and Commissioner Glenn Muth are both out of town on business this week.

The $9.2 million budget includes the town’s water, sewer, electric and general fund expenses.

An additional $2.2 million has been budgeted for capital projects in each of the funding categories.

The town expects to receive nearly $1.89 million in taxes alone to help cover its general fund. User fees for building permits and other licenses along with parking fines and grants will help offset, somewhat, the disparity between tax revenues and general fund operating expenditures.

The police department is earmarked to receive $561,500, the largest outlay in that category.

The town’s sewer system budget shows projected revenues of only $990,305 compared with planned expenditures topping $1 million.

A loan is in the works that would help to close that spending gap, Town Clerk Richard May told those gathered Tuesday.

The gap exists despite the fact that the town’s leaders voted late last month to raise sewer system user fees to $5.95 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated.

The largest capital outlay in the sewer system budget is for a $1.1 million system-wide rehabilitation, to be covered through the sale of municipal bonds.

In other business, the town commissioners also learned that an employee drug testing program initiated last month also applies to any town volunteer.

Some who would otherwise volunteer may pull out because drug testing could apply to them, Commissioner Ron Terpko said.

"We need to revisit that because this is news to me," Mr. Terpko said. "That’s craziness. I didn’t think that’s where this is going."

Resident John Kinnaird agreed that the town is "penalizing people who have very little liability" in terms of the types of decisions they would be making as volunteers.

He said that residents would also need to pay for the testing, something which could prevent many potential volunteers from signing up.

"We were very surprised at the scope" of the newly-adopted policy, Mr. Kinnaird said.

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