MOUNT AIRY -- The tax rate wouldn't increase, the town's four resident state troopers would stay, but trash would be FTC collected only once a week under a proposed budget for next year.
Residents are recycling more, which reduces the amount of trash that needs to be collected, said Councilman William E. Wagner Jr., who oversees the town's sanitation department.
Beginning July 7, trash will be collected once a week instead of twice, he said, adding, "It's either that or raise taxes."
Beginning July 8, recyclables will be collected every other week, he said. Residents currently take recyclables to drop-off centers.
The sanitation budget still will increase by $11,900 over the current fiscal year, however, because of increased tipping fees at landfills in Carroll and Frederick counties, Wagner said Thursday at a public hearing on the proposed budget.
Carroll officials want to raise the tipping fee from $15 a ton to $40. Frederick's fee rose from $27 a ton to $37.
Wagner said he has heard some informal complaints about the garbage collection change. Five citizens -- including two challengers in tomorrow's council election -- attended the 45-minute hearing, but none voiced complaints about it.
The council is expected to approve the $1 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 at its meeting at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Town Hall. The proposed budget is $5,506 less than the current year's budget.
The tax rate will remain at 60 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The rate has not changed in three years.
Even without an increase, the town will collect about $30,000 more in property taxes than last year because of rising property values.
The owner of a $130,000 house -- the average cost of a Carroll home -- will pay $312 in town taxes and $1,222 in county property taxes. The county rate is $2.35 per $100 of assessed value.
At the hearing Thursday, candidate James R. Lumadue asked about the amount allocated to pay for the town's four resident troopers.
"Two hundred and forty thousand dollars? Can we afford it, really?" he asked.
The town budgeted that amount to pay for the salaries, vehicles and gas for the troopers after learning that the state would not contribute 25 percent toward the cost as it had in the past. Last year, the town paid $180,000 for the troopers.
Council President R. Delaine Hobbs said the troopers are needed to protect the town.
"Without police protection, we're inviting problems," he said. "Mount Airy lies in a precarious situation, with Route 27 toward Washington and I-70 toward Baltimore. There are quite a few escape routes in Mount Airy."
Some of the money the town will pay for the troopers will come from Carroll and Frederick counties.
Carroll will pay half the cost of one trooper, as it did in the current fiscal year, said Lt. James Bowman, resident trooper coordinator for the Maryland State Police. He said he didn't know how much this would be.
Carroll also will contribute $4,484 that it receives from the state through a program that helps counties pay for police protection, said county budget analyst Stephen Pyne.
The proposed budget does not include raises for employees.