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Taneytown Budget Breezes Through Quietly

May 15, 1991|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

TANEYTOWN — One city resident showed up at a public hearing on the proposed $1.4million spending plan for fiscal 1992 "because my wife said there's a tax meeting tonight."

The man, Ralph Staub, had a seat at the meeting but never asked any questions. Two other city residents also attended the Monday night hearing.

The council unanimously approved the $1,411,200 budget after the brief hearing. The council, who along with city officials have described the fiscal plan as conservative, had two budget work sessions prior to the hearing.

The proposed spending plan is 18 percent, or $216,760, more than the current budget that ends June 30.

Besides approving the budget, the council agreed to maintain the property tax levy at 78 cents. City taxes on the average $134,000 home will remain at $418 annually; county taxes add $1,260.

Because of increased assessments and growth, however, the tax levy will increase property tax receipts by 12.2 percent to $389,454, said City Manager Neal W. Powell.

Increased costs in water and sewer service prompted the council to raise fees by about 17 percent. Water and sewer fees will increase from $1.50 to $1.75 for city residents and from $2.25 to $2.65 for out-of-city residents, all per 1,000 gallons.

Powell, who was asked by the council to survey fees charged by other communities, said that even with the increase, Taneytown rates are lower than those charged by Westminster, Union Bridge and Hampstead.

Officials wrestled with a proposal to charge a $25 user's fee for the pavilions and lighted baseball fields at Taneytown Memorial Park, but decided againstsuch a plan.

Generally, groups that use the pavilions give a donation, usually $25 or more. Some groups don't donate anything, however. City officials expect about $3,000 in do nations in fiscal 1992.

There was some concern about groups abusing the lighted ball field by forgetting to turn lights off. The city pays for the electricity, about $1,500 over the summer.

Although the city staff proposed a 5 percent salary raise for employees -- including Powell, the clerk-treasurer, police officers and utility workers -- the council approved only a 2.5 percent pay boost.

The bulk of additional revenue in thebudget is earmarked for capital improvement projects. The council has approved the purchase of a $26,000 sewer jet needed to clean sewer lines.

They also budgeted $795 for a fax machine and $1,975 for a laser printer for the city office. Officials said the equipment will make business more efficient for workers.

About $10,000 has been earmarked for a third police car and radio equipment.

Some of the city's major sources of revenues are: the state,including state incometax and state police protection, $244,148; county, including tax differential, building permits and trailer tax, $156,868, and miscellaneous funds, including parking meters and cable television, $86,550

Some of the major expenditures are administration, including the bulk of workers' salaries, $360,623; public safety, not including policesalaries but gas, training, and administration, $39,200; parks, including lights and improvements, $98,210, and street programs, such as repairs and new construction, $180,478.

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