Burgess John Miller wants to give Middletown residents a break on their water bills.
In Miller’s proposed budget, he has decided against increasing rates on water bills for residents.
The town has raised rates 3 percent in each of the last three years, Town Administrator Drew Bowen said Monday evening at the town’s budget workshop.
“We have the system in pretty good shape that I think residents who keep paying increases in water and sewer rates should get a break from that increase in rates,” Miller said.
But the desire to not raise rates was met with some disapproval from Commissioner Jennifer Falcinelli, chairwoman of the town’s water and sewer committee.
“To be able to make your improvements you should be generating enough money in your water and sewer fund to not have to depend upon tap fees to be able to pay for upkeep of your system,” Falcinelli said. “What happens if development stops? Then how are we going to pay our bills?”
Miller said that in order to fund the operating budget through rate increases, the town would need to increase rates by 50 percent. Falcinelli said she wasn’t asking for a 50 percent increase, but she said the town should still strive to bring in enough money through taxes on water, in case housing development stops and the town no longer receives money through one-time water hookup fees.
The town is in the middle of a decision of whether to provide fluoride to town residents at two of its three water treatment facilities. If the town does choose to build two facilities to add a fluoride injection system, then Miller said a rate increase would be necessary because the town would have a $5,000 deficit.
The budget currently calls for a $17,000 surplus in the operating budget.
• Original article titled, Middletown residents would avoid water-rate increase under proposed budget, is online at https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/politics_and_government/budget_and_tax/middletown-residents-would-avoid-water-rate-increase-under-proposed-budget/article_f5b364f8-1a4e-5f4f-bf30-72b1397e60a8.html