NEW WINDSOR — An expected rise in county trash-tipping fees could force the town to raise taxes for the first time in more than eight years, town officials said.
At Wednesday's Town Council meeting, Mayor James C. Carlisle proposed a budget that includes a $3,500 increase for trash collection and no increase in the property tax rate of 45 cents per $100of assessed value.
That proposal assumes county tipping fees will not increase by more than $10, from the current $15 per ton, said the mayor.
"We figure the tipping fee could go from $15 to $25 per ton," he said. "If the county wants more than that, the town might have to look at a tax increase."
County administrators said they will announce the exactamount of the tipping fee Thursday.
Interest from a $300,000 surplus helps the town maintain the lowest tax rate in the county, the mayor said. He added that he hopes the town won't have to "dip into theprincipal and lower interest revenues."
The owner of a $130,000 house, which is about the average price, now pays $234 in town and $1,222 in county property taxes.
Rising property assessments will add$3,305 to the anticipated revenues. A $2,980 increase in the town's half of resident trooper costs, which it shares with neighboring Union Bridge, will offset that additional money.
The mayor's budget proposal calls for $197,958 in operating money, up $360 from last year. The current difficult economic conditions leave the town little room to maneuver, said Town Clerk Richard M. Warehime.
"We have really limited funds to spread over the expenses we are going to have in the next year," he said.
The mayor said problems with the 1990 census have added to budget woes. Census enumerators neglected to count an entire street in town, he said, lowering the final population countand, most likely, the town's share of county and state funds.
"Wesent in a correction, and they ignored it," he said. "Their mistake will cost us about $3,000 a year in county and state revenue for the next 10 years."
Warehime said the town would receive $800 in additional revenue for each cent the property tax increased.
"Eight hundred dollars won't even pay for our new Christmas lights," said Warehime. "They are going to cost $1,000."
Councilwoman Rebecca H. Harman said she had written to Sen. Charles H. Smelser, D-Carroll, Frederick, Howard, about the town's budget problems.
"The state might come through for us," she said.
Harman cited the immediate need to repair the alley behind Church Street. That project is not on the budget, however.
"Every time we get a hard rain, the water floods one resident's property," she said. "We have to do something soon. This can't continue."