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Thurmont mulls possible change to water, sewer billing process

Stephanie Mlot
Frederick News-Post

(8/31) The board of commissioners discussed on Monday night a proposal to change the water and sewer customer-deposit format.

Currently, the town allows different options for landlords to collect water and sewer bills from people renting their property. They can bill the tenant directly for each utility, or collect the money as part of the overall rent.

"It's a hodgepodge" of methods, Mayor Marty Burns said after the meeting.

Running on a three-month billing cycle, a tenant could leave the bills unpaid and skip town, leaving the town with potentially lost revenue, Burns said.

"It is a problem," he said. "If they have skipped, it becomes a four-month bill (for) the landlord."

Commissioner Ron Terpko suggested placing the billing account in the property owner's name only, cutting out the town government as a middle man.

"You, the property owner, (have) to pay the bill," Terpko said. "(Town staff) is completely out of it."

The same process cannot be taken with the town's electric bills, Chief Executive Officer Bill Blakeslee said Monday.

The town runs on a three-month billing cycle, which means late notices sent to a tenant not paying the bills could go unnoticed for months, leaving the landlord to compensate if the renter leaves town.

No official decision has been made, but Burns said if they do move to the new system, it would be more efficient.

The board is set to further discuss the proposal at the Sept. 19 town meeting.

Commissioners discuss fire and rescue chief

Waiting on more information from the Thurmont Guardian Hose Co. and Thurmont Community Ambulance Service Inc., Burns said the board wants to know what the local officers have to report.

"If it's to create a fire chief and have that person be like the Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of (the county), then I am totally opposed to it," Burns said during Monday's meeting.

The town has volunteer fire and rescue services, which the mayor is concerned will be impacted if a countywide chief is enacted.

"Where is it going to benefit the Thurmont community?" Commissioner Bob Lookingbill asked

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