The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has submitted a $281.7 million budget to Montgomery and Prince George's counties for their approval.
The budget reflects reductions of more than $2 million from the preliminary budget the WSSC proposed in December. It reduces the proposed increase in the average annual water and sewer bill for Prince George's and Montgomery County homeowners from $21 to $13, the WSSC estimates.
The preliminary budget had included an 18-cent increase in the sewer usage charge per 1,000 gallons. That has been adjusted to an estimated increase of 13 cents per 1,000 gallons. The current rate is $1.08 per 1,000 gallons.
The WSSC predicts that no increase in the water consumption charge of 65 cents per 1,000 gallons will be required if the 20 per cent summer water sur-charge for the months of June, July, August and September is applied this year. If the surcharge is not continued, the WSSC estimates that the water consumption rate will increase by three cents, from 65 cents to 68 cents per 1,000 gallons.
The average homeowner pays $95 a year for sewerage and $65 annually for water, not including the 20 per cent summer surcharge on water, a commission spokesman estimated.
The reductions in the proposed budget followed a public hearing Feb. 9 attended by about 100 persons. WSSC spokesman Arthur P. Brigham said the changes were an attempt to comply with the public interest in a lower budget.
Almost $2 million was cut from the projected operating expenses and $187,700 was deleted from capital outlays. The proposed number of WSSC employes was reduced from 2,072 to 2,025, therefore maintaining the same level as the current year. A proposed $400,000 addition to the WSSC building in Hyattsville was deleted from the budget and cuts were made in appropriations for consultant fees and equipment repair costs.
The proposal still includes a 5 per cent cost-of-living increase for commission employees.
The Prince George's and Montgomery County Councils will hold separate hearings on the budget then jointly approve a budget by June 1. The WSSC then will formally adopt the budget as approved by the County Councils.