PRESTON — The town of Preston unanimously approved its budget, Monday, June 3, for the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget, totaling nearly $8.3 million, includes $7.9 million for the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant, which has been in the works since 2017.
A large portion of the funding for an upgraded plant came from the Bay Restoration Fund.
The Bay Restoration Fund is funded by the $60 per year tax paid by every Maryland property owner on a septic system or treatment plant, according to Caroline County environmental and facilities planner Leslie Grunden, who was instrumental in ultimately getting the update approved.
Because Grunden and Preston town manager Stacey Pindell took on the challenge of changing a state law in 2017, smaller state municipalities can now tap into that massive taxpayer funded pot of money to upgrade their wastewater treatment plants to the highest pollution control standard designed, ultimately, to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
Before the adoption of a new bill, which went into effect July 1, 2017, smaller municipalities like Preston were forced to fund and build treatment plants that only removed biological nutrients.
Now, they can upgrade to an enhanced nutrient removal (ENR) wastewater treatment plant system.
Nearly $27,000 of the town’s total budget will come from funds carried over from last year, and $305,620 will come from taxes levied at 0.36 cents per $100 of “evaluation as assessed and established by the local office of the State Department of Assessment.”
Of the total funds, nearly $170,000 will go to general government; $108,227 to public safety, for police and emergency services, as well as mosquito and weed control; and $80,897 will be distributed to highway and road maintenance projects.