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Town Proposing 6.29 Percent Increase In Sewer Rates

The actual increase will depend on water consumption, as the consumption rate is being increased by 10 percent while the annual fee stays flat.

At their last meeting, the Utility Commission unanimously voted to increase the consumption charge to Waterford ratepayers by 10 percent, meaning a 6.29 percent increase to the average ratepayer.

Waterford residents, or at least residents who don’t have wells, pay their water bills to New London. The Waterford Utility Commission is in control of the cost of sewer rates, and if the move is approved by the Representative Town Meeting it will increase consumption costs 10 percent, from $3.50 per 100 cubic feet of water used to $3.85 per 100 cubic feet of water used, according to the commission’s August 21st meeting minutes.

The actual cost to consumers depends on how much water a consumer uses. All town sewer bills are broken into two parts, a set fee based on the size of a consumer’s home or business and a consumption fee. The set fee is staying flat in this proposal, and the consumption fee is increasing by 10 percent.

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A public hearing will be held on the proposal on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium, according to the Utility Commission’s August 21st meeting minutes. This is the first proposal to raise sewer rates in three years, according to meeting minutes.

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There are two parts to a Waterford sewer bill. The first part is a set cost based on the size of the building, which is measured in equivalent dwelling units (EDUs). Most homes in Waterford are charged for one EDU, which costs $180 per year regardless of how much water that home uses. That charge will not change under this proposal.

The second part of the sewer bill is based off of how much water a consumer uses, and thereby goes down the drain and needs to go to the sewer treatment plant. Right now, for every 758 gallons of water a person uses, they pay $3.50, and under the proposal people will pay 10 percent more, or $3.85 for the same amount.

The actual rate increase will depend on how much water a consumer uses. However, the Utility Commission assumes the average consumer uses 65,000 gallons of water per year, which would mean a 6.29 percent increase in cost.

In real dollars, if a consumer uses 65,000 gallons of water in a building being charged for one EDU (which is the average home), they now pay $480.13 per year. If this proposal were adopted, that consumer would pay $510.14 per year, or an extra $30.01.

After the public hearing on September 18, the Waterford RTM will vote on the proposed increase at their regular meeting on October 1. The largest reason the Utility Commission has to increase its costs is because the sewer treatment plant in New London increased its cost for processing sewage, Board of Finance member and Utility Commission liaison J.W. “Bill” Sheehan said.

Susan September 15, 2012 at 01:29 AM
If this is approved by the RTM then perhaps its time to vote some of these SPENDERS off the RTM and begin again.....Did anyone get a 6,29% raise this year????
John Sheehan September 15, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I would encourage those sewer users affected by this proposed rate change to attend the public hearing, listen to the reason for the increase, then voice your concerns and suggestions to the WUC to limit or eliminate the increase. That is the purpose of public hearings. The hearing is an opportunity for the public to support or oppose the proposed increase. There will be another opportunity at the RTM meeting on OCT 1 but the hearing on Tuesday is the best chance to influence the proposed rate increase. COME TO THE HEARING at Town Hall 6 PM Tuesday SEP 18, 2012.
Paul September 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM
As Mr. Sheehan comments in the article the increase like it or not is related to cost of treating the sewage at the treatment plant. We are obligated to pay that cost based on an agreement with the city of NL. We could go back to the old system in which a single or elderly person living alone ends up paying for the family of 4 who has a swimming pool or we can have a system in which one pays for what they use (the system we have now). For those who have pools or water their lawns one can get a meter so you don't have to pay for what does not go down the drain. A lot of towns in southern conservative states do this! This is not about spending it is about agreements with other towns and cities and the cost of running a business. If you don't like the system go to the public hearing and find out how the water and sewer system works! In the end if the commission does not have the money to operate the system then the town maybe in violation of certain state statutes that will end up making every citizen pay the balance of the cost for operating the system. So every citizen whether they are a family of four, single, or elderly person living alone should go the public hearing on Tuesday as well as the RTM meeting and question the validity of the agreement with NL, the efficiently of operations of the Utility commission, the consequences of not passing the rate hike with regards to state statutes, and paying for what one uses vs. paying for other people??
Daniella Ruiz September 15, 2012 at 05:18 PM
like THAT will ever happen!
Daniella Ruiz September 15, 2012 at 05:24 PM
it is permitted to submit written letters to the committee prior to the date of the meeting. they will be read and entered into the minutes. make sure to sign and provide full name and address. all public meetings may have written letters submitted by citizens.

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