County residents can expect to have almost $20 added to their annualsewer and water bills beginning in July.

That's when the Department of Utilities will impose its latest price increase since winning limited independent power to raise rates in 1988.

The department can raise its rates as much as 5 percent every year, to keep the sewer and water funds self-supporting.

Under the department's proposed fiscal 1992 budget presented to the County Council Monday, rates for sewer and water will go up an average of $4.86 per quarter. That figure is based on an average family that uses 24,000gallons of water and expels the same amount of sewage in a three-month period.

The proposal represents a 5-percent increase over the current combined sewer and water rate of $96.63 per quarter.

The department's proposed $46.7 million utilities budget -- which does require council approval -- is down $600,000 (1.4 percent) from this year.

About half that figure will be saved with the elimination of nine vacant utilities jobs. Repairs and renovations of utility facilities also is down to $200,000, about half the level in 1991.

The department's contribution to its long-term debt service fund, which is used to pay off the department's debt, will decline $3 million, to $28.6 million.

The proposed capital budget is almost $30.3 million, down $4.4 million from 1991. It includes $4.8 million for the Galesville sewage collection system, to replace failing septic tanks; $2.9 million for a joint project with Annapolis to upgrade and control odor given off by the Annapolis sewage treatment plant; $1.7 million to begin expanding the Arnold water treatment plant; $6.4 million to begin the new Crofton water treatment plant, including $3.9 million from developers; $2.5 million to upgrade water pressure at the Marley Neck and Fort Smallwood Road pumping stations; and $1.2 million for the second phase of upgrading at the Dorsey water treatment plant.

A public hearing on the rate increase is scheduled for June 10 at AnnapolisHigh School.

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