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Effective July 1, 2021 water and sewer rates will be increasing. The last rate increase was on July 1, 2019. The Utilities Division has worked diligently to control our costs during this two-year period; however, our operating and maintenance costs have continued to increase and rates must be adjusted to have a balanced budget.
The County Utilities Division costs are influenced by our own utility costs as we purchase water directly from Cumberland, Frostburg, Keyser, and Westernport and the County rates must be adjusted accordingly when we receive rate increases from these municipalities. Nearly 50-percent of our waste water is treated by the City of Cumberland and our McCoole-area waste water is treated by the City of Keyser. Our waste water treatment costs increase in the City of Cumberland during periods of wet weather. The City assesses a higher rate when our monthly flow is in excess of the annual monthly average flow. The County has been working to reduce infiltration and inflow in our sewer systems to reduce these costs for greater than 15-years. This is an on-going effort with over 200-miles of County-maintained sewer lines. We have also experienced higher electric, gas, phone, and internet bills similar to the same increases you have felt.
Trying to maintain older systems is challenging while keeping costs low to our customers. The County has been successful in securing favorable funding packages to complete large-scale capital improvements; however, with these projects, our funding agencies require an equitable grant and loan combination. The agencies expect our utility rates to be approximately 2-percent of median household income for Allegany County. Based on the most recent tax assessment, the County water and sewer rates should be approximately $900 each. We continue to maintain our water and sewer systems to a high standard while making sure any capital investments are necessary to provide reliable service to our customers. The County Utilities Division provides good service at a reasonable cost to its residents.