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Havre de Grace council will host public hearing on fiscal 2020 budget ordinance Monday

Havre de Grace council will host public hearing on fiscal 2020 budget ordinance Monday
Havre de Grace Mayor William Martin has put forth a $15.3 million general fund budget for next year, A public hearing on the budget is set for Monday, June 10 at City Hall. (Matt Button / Aegis file)

Havre de Grace residents who want to give their thoughts on the city’s proposed budget for fiscal 2020 can do so on Monday evening, as the City Council will host a public hearing on the ordinance for next year’s budget.

Ordinance 1021, which establishes the 2020 municipal budget, was introduced during the June 3 council meeting. City leaders set a public hearing date for next Monday, June 10 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 711 Pennington Ave.

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Mayor William T. Martin noted the public hearing will not happen during the council’s next scheduled meeting on June 17, but ahead of that event as the council must adopt the budget during its second meeting of the month in accordance with city regulations. The next fiscal year begins July 1.

Havre de Grace residents are welcome, “should any citizen here or at home watching [on television] wish to come here and speak on the budget,” Martin said.

The mayor has put forth a $15.3 million general fund budget for next year, as well as a $10.7 million water and sewer fund and $628,400 marine facilities fund budgets.

The council has already adopted Ordinance 1016, setting next year’s tax rates at 56.5 cents per $100 of valuation for real property and $1.705 for personal property, and Ordinance 1017, setting basic water rates at $6.20 per 1,000 gallons and basic sewer rates at $9.30 per 1,000 gallons.

The mayor has not proposed raising property taxes, despite citywide property values declining based on the state’s 2016 and 2019 tri-annual property assessments. The assessments declined despite a spike in residential construction in Havre de Grace in recent years.

Martin also did not propose raising base water and sewer rates, although he put forward several fee increases and new fees to raise additional revenue in support of what he described — upon introducing the budget in March — as an aggressive plan to replace aging water and sewer infrastructure and reduce the number of times city workers must repair unexpected water and sewer line breaks.

The fee increases, which are codified in the water and sewer rate ordinance, include an increase of quarterly base service charges from $18.75 to $20 and increasing capital cost recovery fees, which developers pay to connect dwellings to the municipal water and sewer system, from $17,200 to $18,500 — the water fee is $5,300 per unit and the sewer fee is $13,200 per unit, according to Ordinance 1017.

The mayor has also instituted a new fee to support an Infrastructure Reinvestment Program. That fee ranges from $30 a quarter for the smallest water meter to $1,000 for the largest meter, according to the ordinance.

Residents can see the full budget online at the city’s website.

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