For nearly three decades, property owners in Middletown have paid the same property tax rate, a tradition that continued with the passage of the town’s latest budget Monday night.
The town’s commissioners voted unanimously to approve a general fund operating budget of $3.5 million, and a water and sewer fund operating budget of almost $1.3 million.
The fiscal 2019 general fund operating budget was $3.35 million, and the water and sewer budget was $1.26 million.
The budget includes a property tax rate of 23 cents per $100 of assessed value, the 28th straight year that the town has had the same property rate, Town Administrator Drew Bowen said.
The operating budget includes $1.44 million in local tax revenue, $1.79 million in the town’s share of county taxes and $253,778 in state tax revenue.
The largest expenditure in the operating budget is an item for highways and streets, about $815,000.
“Roads last for a long time, but eventually they do have to be replaced,” Bowen said.
In September, the town decided to switch to a new tar, chip and seal process for resurfacing roads, which officials hope will help the town do more projects without drastically reducing quality.
The process involves spraying a layer of tar on the road, then spreading a layer of stone chips on top of it.
The surface is rolled to push the stone chips into the surface. Excess chips are swept away after the surface has cured for several days.
The budget also includes $438,024 for public safety, including $388,000 for the cost of three deputies from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office who patrol the town.
The rest goes to expenses such as school crossing guards and a donation to the Middletown Volunteer Fire Co.
The water and sewer budget includes a 2 percent rate increase, after four years without an increase, Burgess John Miller said.
The increase will help prepare to pay for maintenance and painting of the town’s water tower, among other things.
The tower has been painted twice, and this time it has to be sandblasted and repainted, Bowen said.