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Town to increase property tax rates

Tare E. Buck
Frederick News Post

Town residents here are bracing for a tax increase, however whether that be .273 per every $100 of assessed property value or .298 per every $100, has yet to be decided.

The town will hold a public hearing on the constant yield tax rate May 25, but leaders decided Tuesday to advertise the highest possible rate, which is .298 per $100 of assessed property value.

The 2004 rate for residents is .248 per $100 of assessed value.

Residents will also see large increases in fees for water and sewer service. The sewer fee is currently charged at .375 per $1,000 of assessed property value. That could be raised to as high as .635 per $1,000.

Water rates currently charged at .225 per $1,000 could increase to .415 per $1,000.

Mayor Martin Burns said he is surprised at the lack of public feedback during the town’s ongoing budget workshops, and he pleaded with residents to have their say before it’s too late.

Commissioner William Blakeslee also sought to remind residents that a public forum with himself and Commissioner Glenn Muth will take place on Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mr. Blakeslee said it will be a golden opportunity for town residents to ask questions of the commissioners without the public access cameras and other distractions.

Other upcoming public meetings on the budget are: June 1, preliminary budget hearing and June 8, adoption of the budget.
Mr. Blakeslee also pointed out that, as the town’s leaders discuss higher taxes and fees, public assistance is available to pay other utilities like electric or heating oil or gas.

“These programs are based on income,” Mr. Blakeslee said. “Those on social security and with fixed incomes will likely qualify. You need to get the ball rolling now, however, before it’s too late. The money is out there, and if you don’t get it, someone else will. So I urge people to do it now.”

In other business, the commissioners also discussed ongoing problems with too much grease heading into the sewer lines and treatment plant.

“Apparently it’s been an ongoing problem at the sewage plant,” Mr. Muth said.

While the source of the excess grease is unknown, Mr. Muth asked residents to please use caution when disposing of grease and to try to keep it out of the public system as much as possible.

The town commissioners will meet again at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

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