Taneytown passes balanced budget for coming fiscal year

The Taneytown Mayor and Council passed a balanced budget for fiscal year 2020, which begins July 1, and did so without raising the tax or water and sewer rates.

“I think it is a win. We were presented by a really nice balanced budget, I know the city manager worked hard on that this year, he and the treasurer,” Councilman Bradley Wantz said in an interview. “I think it has the appropriate cost of living increasing for the employees and keeps revenue at a nice steady rate.”


The council voted 4 to 1 on Monday night, with Councilman Donald Frazier voting against, to approve a budget with a general fund budget of almost $6.3 million for the coming fiscal year. The budget includes just more than $1.6 million for public safety, more than $1 million for streets, $144,080 for economic development, and $91,981 for the mayor and council.

Revenue will be balanced at $6,298,758, with the main source being $3,155,332 collected in local and state taxes.

The council also voted 4 to 1, with Frazier voting no, on keeping the real property tax rate at 37 cents per $100 of assessed value, and the personal property tax rate at 80 cents per $100 of assessed value. Frazier stated at the meeting that he wanted a one or two cent decrease.

Taneytown also has a utility fund, separate from the general fund.

“The utility fund is the water and sewer, it’s considered an enterprise fund, so the idea is the water and sewer operation is paid for by the users,” Acting City Manager James Wieprecht said in an interview. “The rate structure is set up so that we hopefully we cover all our expenses for operating the water and sewage systems through the quarterly bills.”

The utility fund is balanced at $7,060,629 in revenues and expenditures for FY20.

The main revenue sources for the utility fund are the $8,410,000 in water service fees and $1.6 million in sewer service fees.

The largest utility fund expenditure for FY20 will be a $2.5 million capital outlay for sewer and a $1.9 million capital outlay for water, which would include projects that renovate water and sewer infrastructure, according to Wieprecht. An example, he said, would be $525,00 of the funds budgeted for water and sewer outlay to be used on a project on Robert’s Mill Road.

“That’s where some of our oldest water and sewer infrastructure is,” Wieprecht said. “We have applied for grant funding to basically do a streetscape-type project, where we would be replacing both water and sewage lines, improving the storm drainage and reconstructing the road.”

That project will not go forward if the city does not receive the grants, according to Wieprecht.

“We are putting money in the budget anticipating that we succeed there. We had these items in the budget last year also,” he said, but the grant funding did not come through.

The city’s water and sewer rates will also remain the same in FY20, with water at $7.25 per 1,000 gallons, sewer at $14.24 per 1,000 gallons, water hydrant meter at $16.38 per 1,000 gallons and $15 for the Bay Restoration fund, to be billed each quarter.

The council voted 4 to 1 on the water and sewer rates, with Frazier voting no.


“I feel like we are walking a fine line at the moment,” Wantz said of the water and sewer rates. “We were able to maintain them at the current level. We are not at a point where we can decrease them yet, but I definitely think we can avoid increasing them in the near future for sure.”

The council also voted 4 to 1, with Frazier again voting no, to increase the salaries of the mayor and council. Salaries of those on the council will increase from $1,800 per year to $4,000 per year, while the mayor’s salary will increase from $4,800 to $8,000 per year.

“I resisted salary increased for the last couple of years, mainly because it seemed like the city finances were in some turmoil,” Wantz said in an interview.

But as the the city’s finances have improved, Wantz said he began thinking of the amount of time elected officials put in to their part-time positions, and the fact that salaries hadn’t been increased in about 10 years.

“Our city manger did a survey and found out what other places were reimbursing their mayor and council for. I think it’s good to put us in the same range,” he said. “I think it will help encourage people in the future to run for seats, when they realize there is slightly better compensation, hopefully we can get more people to run in the future.”