The Maryland Public Service Commission (MPSC) is considering the proposed Pepco rate increase.

The MPSC recently held public hearings in Rockville and Largo before they make their decision.

Keeping with the theme about public concern regarding utility rates, Peter Kim, an owner of a laundromat in Silver Spring, asked the council if there was anything they could do about water utility rates for small businesses.

Kim said his water bill has increased 75 percent during the past nine years.

He said he met with officials from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), the water utility for 1.8 million people in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and he said they told him that if laws changed, then they could offer him a more favorable rate.

“We will be looking at that at the County Council,” said Council President Nancy Floreen (D-At large). “I’m not sure if we will get it in the spring, maybe next year, but that’s really a priority of all of ours to take a look at it. The challenge, I think in the commercial world is how you distinguish yourselves from similar situated businesses.”

Council member Tom Hucker (D-5), who represents Silver Spring, said his office organized meetings between laundromat owners and WSSC rate commissioners.

“The council supported WSSC looking at their rate structure, which is unique and unlike any other rate structure in the country,” Hucker said.

Residents also spoke about school funding.

In May, the council voted to increase property taxes on the average residents by 8.7 percent and passed a recordation tax on potential home sellers and buyers.

Some residents at the town hall applauded the tax increases a necessary measure to provide more funding to schools in the County.

Howard Greg, an Olney resident, asked how the Council would make sure that the estimated $125 million in revenue from the recordation tax increase would go toward school construction.

Council member Craig Rice (D-2) said he is working on increasing funding from the state for the County’s public schools and the County cannot rely on taxes increases alone to fund the increasing demand of public schools.

“It can’t just happen through recordation taxes or increase in property taxes,” said Rice who chairs the Council Education committee. “We’ve got to be more creative.”

Council member Marc Elrich (D-At large), who also serves on the Council Education committee, said he is considering raising the standards for overcrowding.

Elrich also said wants to examining whether to raise more money from evelopers instead of taxpayers to fund school construction.

“If we continue to grow and we don’t receive adequate funds to pay for the facilities, we keep turning ourselves to the taxpayers or we don’t address the problem because we don’t want to go to the taxpayers in order to get the schools under crowded,” Elrich said.

The Council will be holding a youth town hall meeting at the Council Office Building in Rockville Oct. 5.



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