James Rada, Jr.
(5/1) Though Cunningham Falls State
Park is outside of the corporate limits of
Thurmont, the average rate for sewer service
the state pays for the park is barely more
than an Thurmont resident pays.
“It’s virtually the same thing in-town
residents pay and far lower than other
out-of-town residents are paying,” Thurmont
Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee
told the town commissioners on April 28.
Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin
Mountain Park both pay a minimum fee for sewer
service as long as their usage falls below a
certain level. When averaged out per 1,000
gallons of sewage treating (the way most
customers pay), an inequity appears.
Thurmont Residents pay $7.95 per 1,000
gallons and out-of-town residents pay $11.93
per 1,000 gallons. Catoctin Mountain Park pays
an average of $28.68 per 1,000 gallons, but
Cunningham Falls State Park pays $8.02 per
Blakeslee also noted that the parks are
paying at rates set in 1983. However, the
in-town and out-of-town rates have risen over
that time. Though he did not know what the
1983 rates were, the in-town rate was $2.75
per 1,000 gallons in 1999.
“I think we absolutely have to raise the
state (rate) to at least what the out-of-town
residents are paying," Commissioner Glenn Muth
Mayor Martin Burns suggested the percentage
increase incurred by town residents since 1983
should be applied to the park rates to make
them equitable. Based on the 1999 rates, this
would require at least a 189-percent increase.
Burns also wants the policy revised so that
anytime rates are increased, it becomes
effective at the same time for the parks as it
does for residents. Under the current, expired
contracts the parks and town are operating
under, park rates can only be raised with a
The commissioners would like Blakeslee to
collect some additional information so that
they can justify the amount by which they will
be increasing the parks sewer rate.