SMITHSBURG, Md. (WDVM)– If you’re a Smithsburg resident, you might’ve received a certain letter in the mail.
“This was the last increase of a three-year increase in our water rates,” said Smithsburg Mayor Jack Kesselring. “That was started back prior to my administration, it was initiated because we needed to replace our water transmission line.”
Back in 2009, the Town of Smithsburg wasn’t eligible to receive a Maryland Department of Environment Grant needed to replace the transmission line between Federal Lookout Road and South Main Street. But after some negotiations, modifications took place.
“In order to do that, the state wanted us to raise our rates immediately, my town manager worked with the state and got them to agree to a three year period with increases every three years,” said Kesselring. “Initially it was much higher than what the state wanted and she negotiated that down to our current rates.”
After the letter was sent out, residents started voicing their concerns and questions on numerous social media sites about water rates and an additional new sanitation fee. On Whispering Hills and the Smithsburg Maryland Facebook page, residents posted the letter and wanted answers. The purpose of the letter is simple.
“I wanted people to be educated, why we have to do this and why they were implemented,” said Kesselring. “This is the last increase you’ll see for hopefully several years. Instead of having a public forum or meeting without education, I wanted to do this and follow up with an open meeting.”
To break it down a little further, the sanitation fee was put in place to be reduced later on. If it was a tax, it couldn’t be reduced. According to Kesselring, the town had been pulling money out of their surplus, otherwise, savings to make the budget cuts, but in Kesselring’s opinion, that’s no way to operate a town without a strong plan.
Any residents with more questions or concerns are encouraged to attend town hall meetings.