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Town proposes increases in
water and sewer fees

Tare E. Buck
Frederick News Post

(5/20/2004) Mayor Martin Burns had strong words Tuesday night for those in town who protested the proposed increase in water and sewer fees.

"I believe we have to do this to fund those projects to improve our infrastructure," Mr. Burns said of badly needed water and sewer system repairs. "None of us want to raise taxes or these fees, but we’ve delayed these projects before."

He cited decreases in revenue from state highway user fees and other aid.

"You can bash us now this year. But judge us over the long haul and look at what we do," Mr. Burns said. "I get sick and tired of people bashing us for raising taxes. ... Don’t be a Mooney Republican. Sometimes you need to adjust your rates."

He added that the state is suffering financially, in part, "because of certain leaders who don’t have the courage to adjust to meet certain needs like education."

The town’s sewer system users are likely to see somewhat of a break from the proposed increase to $6.35 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated thanks to the town’s rejection last week of two bids that came in over the $60,950 budgeted for one small sewer system repair.

The project, instead, will be part of a $1.1 million sewer system overhaul budgeted for fiscal 2005. The town’s leaders have agreed to pass the small savings on to the sewer system customers.

The savings won’t likely equate to much, however, as the charge per 1,000 gallons is still likely to top the $6 mark.

Mr. Burns sought to remind town residents that despite proposed increases, the town’s water and sewer rates will remain lower than a few other municipalities in Frederick County.

A public hearing on the proposed water and sewer rates will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday at Thurmont’s town hall.

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