James Rada, Jr.
(5/1) The Thurmont Town Commissioners
have started work fine-tuning the new town
budget that will begin on July 1.
“It’s going to be tight this year and
people are going to struggle and we need to be
prudent,” Mayor Martin Burns said during a
recent town meeting.
It’s a sentiment that has been echoed by
other commissioners in other meetings. Much of
the commissioners’ initial discussion about
the budget centered on the town’s electric
Given the slow down in the economy and
rising electric rates, Burns said, “The major
problem that’s going to happen with the town
that Rick and Bill told me about is cash
This means that residents will still pay
their bills but they will be a lot slower
about doing it, which could mean less money in
the bank to pay the town’s bills.
Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee
said that the town has started sending out
“lots” of disconnection notices but “only when
people have not made any attempt to pay it
[their bill] off.”
Commissioner Ron Terpko asked if the town
should consider building a bad debt buffer
into the budget. “At some point, I think we’re
going to hit where the money just isn’t
coming,” he said.
Chief Financial Officer Rick May even
allowed that if the situation becomes critical
the town might have to look at reducing
While those are worst-case scenarios, the
commissioners are looking at a lean budget.
Blakeslee noted that the electric utility
capital budget request will be decreased to
reduce the amount of inventory that the town
carries in that department.
The town is looking to replace the
underground wiring in the Catoctin Heights
area because of frequent breakdowns.
“This is obviously the most important think
we do in the next few months,” Burns said.
The commissioners will be debating the
necessity of various items and trimming the
budget over the next few months.
A hearing on whether the constant-yield tax
rate should be adopted will be held on May 26.
Burns has said in the past he believes the
town won’t have to increase its property tax
rate this year, but he is hesitant to say the
rate can be reduced to whatever the
constant-yield rate will be.
The public hearing and adoption of the
budget will be on June 9.