Berlin Sewer Rate Hike Ahead

BERLIN — In order to qualify for funding from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Berlin will be raising sewer rates for residents next year.

“If we want $5 millionm we have to raise the rates 5 percent,” said Town Administrator Tony Carson at a meeting earlier this month.

The rate change will amount to about an extra $25 a year for current customers and will go into effect on July 1, 2013.

The increase comes on top of pre-approved rate raises that the council green lighted last May. Those increases meant a 21-percent overall rate change from 2011 through 2014, with a 5-percent bump every year except 2014, when rates will go up 6 percent. The additional 5 percent approved for 2013 will bring the grand total to a 26-percent spike, which MDE believes will bring in enough revenue to serve as security for the loans they will be supplying to Berlin.

“This is for expediency for MDE,” said Carson.

The funding this rate increase will secure from MDE is being offered in the form of a $3.5 million loan as well as $1.5 million in additional “loan forgiveness.” According to Carson, that $1.5 million will function in much the same way as a standard grant as long as the town manages to pay off the original $3.5 million in the allotted time.

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