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Mayor issues warning that taxes
 might have to be increased

Vic Bradshaw
Frederick News Post

The commissioners won’t pass a budget for about six months, but the word is out that the town will probably need more money from residents during the next fiscal year.

Mayor Martin Burns issued that warning at the end of Tuesday night’s meeting, bracing residents for possible increases in all the ways the town collects money.

Thurmont, Mr. Burns said, has kept tax and service rates and other fees low by sometimes borrowing from funds supposedly dedicated to specific uses and putting off needed equipment repairs and purchases. That policy will be changed.

"This is a change in the philosophy with the way we’ve been doing things," the mayor said.

He said department heads have been told to prepare budgets for the next two years. They’ve also been warned they must be willing to fight if the board tries to turn down necessary items.

Department heads won’t be the only people with a say in the town’s needs. The board of commissioners expects input from residents, the mayor said. Mr. Burns said that once they know how much money is needed to meet pressing needs, the commissioners will figure out how to pay for them. Anything from tax rates to citation fees could increase.

"The board has tough decisions to make," he said.

The mayor also announced that the board recently chose Board & Borden to represent the town. The Frederick law firm replaced Clifford Bridgford, who resigned in September after serving the town for 18 years.

Mr. Burns said all three of the candidates considered had assets the board liked. Leslie Powell was viewed as a tough litigator, he said, and Holtzinger Conner & Holtzinger has engineering and utility law expertise. Board & Borden’s primary assets were N. Lynn Board’s municipal law experience and Debra Borden’s involvement in Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights matters. The mayor said the City of Frederick’s Board of Aldermen provided a good reference for Ms. Board, the city’s former attorney, and the firm also submitted the lowest hourly rate bid.

"I think because of all those things, the board agreed they are the best ones for us to use," Mr. Burns said. The decision, he said, was unanimous.

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