James Rada, Jr.
(2/7) About 40 percent of Thurmont
residents’ property taxes go to pay for trash
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars on the
municipal property tax pay for solid waste
disposal and it’s not fair that someone who
owns a $500,000 house will pay more for solid
waste disposal than someone in a $50,000 even
if they generate the same amount of trash,”
said Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns.
In 2006, disposing of trash in Thurmont
cost residents $371,700 or 9 cents of their
27-cent municipal tax rate.
Burns wants to take the trash costs out of
the tax rate and create an enterprise fund for
solid waste disposal like the sewer, water and
electricity funds. Waste disposal costs have
risen over the years, putting more pressure on
the town council to raise the tax rate.
However, they then get blamed for the increase
to a cost over which they have little control.
“Everyone wants transparency in
government,” Burns said. “This will do it.”
The town did try to exert some control over
the costs by instituting mandatory recycling.
By reducing the tonnage that went to the
landfill, the town saved on tipping fees.
While recycling has had some effect, the
overall cost of waste disposal is still
Though the enterprise fund would do nothing
to reduce the overall cost, it would more
fairly balance the costs and also show
residents why that portion of their taxes goes
The fund would charge residents separately
for their waste disposal while reducing their
municipal tax rate by the appropriate amount.
“The only thing that will probably remain
in the tax rate is the tipping fees, but
realistically, the fund would be a revenue
neutral move,” Burns said.
He said the enterprise fund wouldn’t be
established to make money but to show
residents the true cost of solid waste
The commissioners will talk more about the
idea as they begin to discuss the fiscal year
2009 town budget.