RIDGELEY – New sewer rates are on the horizon as the Ridgeley mayor and council begin talks on needed rate increases.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
RIDGELEY – New sewer rates are on the horizon as the Ridgeley mayor and council begin talks on needed rate increases.
“We’re running in the red,” said water and sewer commissioner Duke Lantz of what the town is paying for sewer treatment compared to the fees being collected.
Noting many residents are on fixed incomes, Lantz emphasized that the increases are necessary.
Looking toward the coming year, the council is also looking at potential service fees and taxes, which would bring in revenue.
“As you know, we are hurting for money,” said mayor Mark Jones as he brought up the idea of a liquor and wine tax.
One potential cost looming over the council is the certification of the flood levee, which is an estimated $200,000 project.
Jones reported that he has spoken with Congressman David McKinley’s office about the issue and that they recommended that he speak to the engineer that certified the levee for Cumberland.
Other expenditures include hiring an accountant to work on the budget, audits, taxes and other needed services and the council is also looking to retain a town attorney.
The idea of an attorney became clear as residents in March questioned the wording in the newly passed scrap metal ordinance.
This month the council held its first reading to revise the language aimed at  automobiles, parts and junk on properties where it is a risk to health and safety; the storage of construction materials for extended periods and abandoned vehicles.
In reports, public works announced that the streets are being swept and the mowers are ready.
Volunteers will be doing their part to clean up the town with Earth Day scheduled for April 27.
All ages are invited to meet at 9 a.m. at the town hall to participate in a variety of beautification projects including picking up trash, sweeping the streets, and weather permitting working in the flower beds.
In his report, police chief Jake Ryan reported on calls for the month, including slowing traffic down with 30 traffic stops, four trespassing, three suspicious persons, three thefts with warrants issued, three motor vehicle accidents and three assaults with warrants issued.
Ryan noted that officers completed eight hours of in service on interrogation and interviewing and that in May officers will be trained to be taser instructors.
He added that he is also talking with officials about labor through corrections that could help with cleaning, painting and other projects.
Lantz praised Ryan, as he shared how he helped a woman get out of her home during a recent fire at Swan Pond in Wiley Ford.
“It shows the dedication and hard work our department is starting to do,” he said.
The council will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, to lay the levy rates for the coming year and to hold a work session.