Cumberland Times-News

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February 10, 2013

Sewer rates could rise at Jennings Run

To pay for project, increase could be up to $70 per year

CUMBERLAND — Rates could rise for customers of the Jennings Run Sanitary Sewer district after phase II of a rehabilitation of the sewer line is completed.

The rate increase, likely of $65 to $70 a year, would be needed to pay back a loan to be taken out for the project, said Mark Yoder, the county’s utilities division chief.

Most of the loans for the $1.3 million project will essentially be through grants, because they are eligible for loan forgiveness, Yoder said.

Yoder spoke at Thursday’s regular business meeting of the Allegany County Commission on Kelly Road at the county office building. A public meeting is planned March 12 at 7 p.m. in Room 100 of the county office building to discuss the project, Yoder said.

Out of a $1 million loan from the Maryland Department of the Environment, $875,000 is expected to be forgiven, Yoder said.

Users of the system must pay back the remaining money.

The scope of the project can be adjusted to funding availability, said Yoder. Interest rates on these loans are usually very low, about 1 percent for a 30-year term.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also agreed to fund any needs more than $1 million for the project, Yoder said.

The higher rates could begin in July but it has not been decided whether they will be through a surcharge, based on property taxes or a combination.

Commissioners awarded the project to the low bidder, Excavating Associates of Ellerslie. The work will stretch from Mount Savage to Corriganville.

The county is under a consent order by the MDE to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows during and after heavy rains. The project is part of a long-term plan to meet the requirements of the consent order.

Commissioners also ap-pointed April Willetts, senior vice president of First Peoples Community Federal Credit Union, to fill the vacant position on the Tri-County Council for Western Maryland Revolving Loan Committee.

Edward Taylor Jr., president of Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization, addressed commissioners during the citizen comment period of the meeting.

Taylor reminded commissioners that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the organization. The organization owns 11 cemeteries in Allegany County and nearby West Virginia, Taylor said.

Taking care of the cemeteries and erecting historical monuments is “an act of mercy which we consider our patriotic duty,” Taylor said.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com

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