Archived Story

Support grows for Priceville sewage rate adjustment

Published 12:07pm Friday, June 28, 2013

Support is growing among sewer board and town council members for a sewage rate increase that would bring revenues more in line with what neighboring towns and cities are collecting for their service.

At a sewer board meeting June 10, Mayor Melvin Doran said the town’s basic charge of $9 per month and a volumetric charge of $1.80 for each 1,000 gallons of water used above 2,000 doesn’t generate enough revenue to meet day-to-day operating costs.

“Currently, we are dipping into general funds to pay the salaries of two sewer department employees and revenues were $200,000 short of meeting expenses last fiscal year, he pointed out. “We can’t continue to allow the department to operate in the red. I don’t want us to gouge anyone, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect sewer to pay its own way.”

Duran used the same message to generate a discussion on sewage rates among council members at a work session June 24.

While no decision was reached, the council agreed that it was time to adjust rates and the amount should be sufficient to enable the department to operate on its own. A $3 increase in the basic residential rate was suggested with the possibility of splitting it into two yearly increments, along with a $.40 per 1,000 gallons increase in the volumetric rate.

The sewer board is continuing to gather rate information from other municipalities and hopes to bring a recommendation to the council in the near future, according to chairman Jerry Welch.

“We’ve found that most sewage rates in municipalities around us are double what we’re charging,” Welch pointed out. “For instance. the Town of Gurley’s sewer department is proposing a minimum charge of $17.50 per month. Our board meets next on July 8 and we hope to have a rate workup ready to present to the council following that meeting.”

Welch said any increase approved for Priceville customers would be passed on to Somerville residents. By contract, Priceville can charge Somerville customers more than its own as long as the amount doesn’t exceed 20 percent.

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