Westminster council cuts $1 million from budget

Increases proposed in water, sewer rates

April 18, 2000|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

With spending requests higher than projected revenues, the Westminster Common Council approved almost $1 million in cuts last night to balance next year's proposed budget.

No change in the property tax was proposed, but water and sewer rates would increase under the new spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, said Councilman Gregory Pecoraro, who heads the finance committee and outlined the plan at a work session last night.

Water and sewer budgets -- about $3.8 million and $3.7 million respectively for next year -- must be self-supporting. A 5 percent increase in the cost of water service is being proposed and 3 percent for sewer.

FOR THE RECORD - Correction An article about Westminster's proposed budget for fiscal 2001 in the Carroll County edition of The Sun yesterday should have said the Common Council balanced the budget by delaying the amount spent on projects in the next fiscal year. The Sun regrets the error.

Among the proposed cuts to meet the $952,000 difference between spending requests and projected revenues are:

$50,000 for new storm windows for city hall.

Ralph Street improvements.

No design money for a parking deck at Longwell Avenue.

No planning money for a new city office building.

The proposed budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for all city employees, and city police officers will receive an additional $1,250 a year.

The city also will improve its new skateboard park, and contribute to the volunteer fire department, the arts council, the local public access cable channel and other projects.

The council last voted to raise property taxes in 1997, with a 5-cent increase to 88 cents per $100 of assessed value. Water and sewer rates were last increased in 1996.

A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held at 7 p.m. May 8 at City Hall. The budget and tax rate are expected to be adopted May 22.

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