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Letter: Town water rates too high

Back in January of 1999, Mayor Perry Jones casts a tie breaking vote for a 123 percent increase of the local water and sewer collection system.

Now, after being re-elected as the Mayor of Union Bridge of little less than six months in office, Jones has not introduced one resolution to increase water and sewer rates; he's introduced two resolutions to increase town water and sewer rates.

Interesting since at the time Jones didn't pay a residential water and sewer bill.

In 1999 Jones stated that unofficially the town was turned down for grant funding for projects because the town's water rates were the "lowest around," which wasn't true. Then last month, Jones' explanations for increases were that the town was due for an increase, that Union Bridge didn't want to become like New Windsor and that we needed to raise our rates because Taneytown was going to vote to increase their rates.

Instead of new ideas to bring in much needed revenue, Jones simply relies on old reliable; the towns public works system.

The facts are that Union Bridge, population 1551 by the 2010 Census, pays the second highest water rate in the entire county. A recent poll found 74 percent of the town residents also supplement/augment the town water system by having installed a water filtration/softening system, and/or regularly purchase bottle water for consumption and/or getting free spring water for consumption from an outside town source.

Town residents have to replace hot water elements on average every six to eight months, clean and/or replace dishwasher elements every year, run white vinegar through their washing machines and mix water and vinegar to wash their cars because of the limestone in the water. In short, the price for a natural resource goes up, but not the quality of the product.

The Town Charter has a 20 percent voter clause that states that should 20 percent of the registered voters sign a petition in response to a proposed resolution, the resolution in question must be placed as a ballot vote. It is something that has never been exercised until the last meeting, where Jones made the public announcement that if he didn't get the increase from the water and sewer system, they'd get it by raising property taxes. What politician threatens their voters and expects to be re-elected in 2015?

Bradley Wentworth

Union Bridge



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