CUMBERLAND - Mayor Lee Fiedler and the City Council are expected to discuss and approve the proposed fiscal 2009 budget along with a 1.75-cent real property tax increase today.

The meeting begins at 6:15 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Another topic on tonight's agenda is a public hearing to receive comments on the proposed 10-year franchise agreement with Atlantic Broadband Penn LLC. A news release from City Administrator Jeff Repp said the agreement was negotiated by an outside attorney on behalf of both the city and Allegany County and the cable company.

Repp said the city wanted to hear from the public before entering into any agreement. While statements will be taken, the record will remain open until June 30.

City officials also are expected to finalize a charter amendment resolution to annex about five acres in the Commerce Center Industrial Park into the city. The county, which owns the land at Commerce Drive near the intersection of Bedford Street and Naves Crossroad, requested the annexation. County economic development officials said the move benefits both governments. The city has agreed to extend water and sewer service to the site, which is adjacent to Biederlack. The county can use the site as an economic development tool, said Matt Diaz, county director of economic development.

A 45-day referendum period will follow before the land officially becomes a part of the city.

City officials also are to introduce a letter from the Western Maryland Health System advising that Nov. 14, 2009, is the intended opening date of the new hospital on Willowbrook Road.

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