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Commissioners to adopt budget

Jeremy Hauck

(6/7) Thurmont commissioners introduced the town’s fiscal 2008 budget this week, and are set to adopt it on Tuesday.

With a rising property tax and water and sewer rates, living in Thurmont is going to be ‘‘considerably" more expensive, Mayor Martin A. Burns said on Tuesday.

Thurmont’s water rate is rising from $4.15 to $5.15 per 1,000 gallons; the sewer rate will go from $5.95 to $7.95 per 1,000 gallons.

Thurmont’s property tax rate for fiscal 2008 will be set at 28 cents per $100 of assessed value, an increase from the current rate of 26.5 cents.

The new rate is 3.5 cents higher than the constant yield rate. The state-set constant yield rate is the rate that, when applied to new assessments, results in the town receiving the same revenue in the coming tax year that was received in the current tax year.

For a house valued at $250,000, and using the average amount of water and sewer utilities in Thurmont, the rate increases will spark a jump of $279.50 in yearly costs.

Burns said the raise in taxes and fees is due to several things. One was a court decision last month that ordered the town to pay $3.4 million in damages to residents whose homes were flooded with sewage in 2003. Another is the cost of future sewer repairs to the town’s aging pipes.

‘‘If you sat through a trial like I did for the last couple weeks, there are certain things that the town has been put on notice that we have to address," Burns said.

Burns said it was unclear how much of the $3.4 million verdict the town will have to pay, and how much the town’s insurer will have to pay.

The town has budgeted more than $200,000 for sewer system rehabilitation design this year, and Burns hopes to see construction begin before July 2008.

‘‘I want to get it not just done engineering-wise, [but] to get it under construction," Burns said. ‘‘The design work for the second phase is beginning now, [and] should be done in September."

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