Commissioners Pass Motion Related to 3% Hike in Utility Rate

The town administrator recommended the board raise the sewer utility rate 3%, at last week’s commissioners meeting. An interesting discussion on this proposal ensued, along the lines of what we’ve come to expect. The Mayor asked if there was a motion and a second to allow the subject to be introduced for a formal vote, but there was a very long pause without anyone approving the request. Finally Commissioners Jablonski broke the silence by motioning to move to the next step with the request. Then Commissioner Piner seconded it, but he noted that it wasn’t the fnal approval for a rate increase. It was just to allow the request to be discussed in a final vote before the board. With the question finally opened to debate Commissioner Storke wondered about the logic of approving it at this point, since just a few weeks ago they’d approved another study to see if more rate increases were needed. He said that he assumed that study was going to result in yet more increases proposals, so why not wait to see what was going to come out of that. When the vote was called, it was along the lines that any watcher of Elkton anticipates. Mayor Fisona and Commissioners Piner and Jablonski approved the request. Commissioner Storke opposed it, While Commissioner Givens was absent.

This is the preliminary approval that introduces the proposal. There will be another, final vote on the question and if approved the rate would go into affect at the designated time. We’ll try to get some audio of this discussion up, since it sheds light on how this question went.

This budget year is going to be particularly challenging, as the elected officials work to balance needs with revenue. In the middle of March, the administration recommended a tax levy that would yield an additional half-million dollars in town revenue. It will be important to monitor how this develops, since the need for fiscal restraints has often been a subject at town meetings for much of 2008.

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