Freedom Area's water, sewer rates would rise in July under proposal

Increase to be discussed at budget hearing May 6

April 15, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

Residents of the Freedom Area, Carroll's most populous region, might soon have to pay more for public water and sewer service.

According to county Comptroller Eugene C. Curfman, the plan he proposed yesterday would raise the area's water and sewer rates about 5 percent in fiscal year 2000, which begins July 1. The issue will be considered as part of the proposed county budget during a public hearing May 6.

Freedom, which includes all of South Carroll and its 28,000 residents, has about 6,500 households hooked into county-owned utilities. The increase would cost each household about $19 annually, Curfman told the Board of County Commissioners yesterday.

The average household uses about 25,000 gallons of water each year, he said.

The county's public utility customers pay $1.30 per 1,000 gallons of water, and $2.46 per 1,000 gallons of sewage treated. Under Curfman's proposal, water would cost $1.40 per 1,000 gallons and sewage would cost $2.65 per 1,000 gallons treated.

Freedom draws its water from the Liberty Reservoir, which is owned by Baltimore. Carroll County has plans to expand its water treatment plant and has requested an increase in the monthly allocation from the city. The county's limit is 3 million gallons a day.

The rate increase is needed to cover debt service incurred by the county for capital projects, Curfman said. Those projects total $2.5 million and include expansion of the county's water treatment plant.

"The debt service is about $200,000, and that is the amount the rate increase would generate," he said.

The county's public utility rates were last raised five years ago, Curfman said. He did not know how much the increase was, but said that "this increase does not even meet inflation."

The budget hearing is scheduled for 7: 30 p.m. May 6 at Westminster High School, 1225 Washington Road. Information: 410 386-2035.

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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