North East hikes trash, water rates
by Lisa Tome
Mayor Robert McKnight can't print money.
So the Town of North East will make do with what they have.
That's what he told town officials last week.
"We can't print money. If we could, we'd never have to raise fees for anything," said McKnight, who also noted that the town doesn't want to incur a large amount of debt.
Ken Natale, director of finance and administration for North East, presented the town's proposed fiscal year 2019 budget during a public hearing last week. On May 23, the budget will likely be adopted. "Ken does a good job and is fiscally conservative," said McKnight.
The proposed constant yield tax rate is 48 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The effect of the increase will be $21.20 per year on a property assessed at $200,000.
And those who live in North East or use North East services will pay higher fees in the new fiscal year. Refuse hauling has increased by 2.5 percent.
Beginning July 1, fees will climb to $200 from $195. Water users will also pay more. In town customers will now pay $50.50 an increase from the $48.10 rate. Per 1,000 gallon rate increases from $9.62 to $10.10. Out of town water customers will now pay $101 water fee and $20.20 per 1,000 gallons. The fiscal year 2018 rates for out of town users were $96.20 and $19.24 per 1,000 gallons.
The general fund will take in a projected $163,000 above the current fiscal year. That will fund $83,000 in spending - $13,000 for new software for the town planning department, $41,000 for new equipment and a vehicle for the police department, and $29,000 for repairs to park piers and a security system. The town also has to perform a mandated stormwater management study which will cost $50,000. The town will also set aside $20,000 for engineering and legal fees for future annexations along the Route 40 corridor.
The town will also contribute to other agencies - nearly $20,000 divided between Neighborhood Youth Panel, Cecil County Salute to Veterans, North East Fire Company, and Boys and Girls Club.
Town staff will receive a 2.3 percent cost of living adjustment. During the last fiscal year, the town had several high dollar health insurance claims. The town will continue to fund health insurance deductibles through a health savings account.
North East also anticipates receiving $89,000 from the reestablished Highway User Funds. Of that amount, $28,000 is the base giveaway. The remainder is a one time grant.
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