LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen decided Monday to set up an ad-hoc committee to explore options to get the Sewer Department out of debt. They are looking for people both using the system and not using the system to serve on committee.
Selectmen raised sewer rates 20 percent on Nov. 26. That amount is still not enough to get the Department out of debt. A 35-percent increase was needed but selectmen decided that was too much at once.
Those using the system pay for it including the town’s sewage treatment plant. Jay pays 54 percent of operation and maintenance of the plant. The percentage is based on the amount of sewage that comes from that town’s residents that is treated at the plant.
Sewer users in Livermore Falls foot the bill for sewage treatment and the plant.
Residents and landlords who have property on public sewer asked the town during the hearing for help to get the system out of debt.
Options put forth that night included asking those who are not users and who don’t have access to the sewer system to help pay for it through taxation.
Town Manager Kristal Flagg said she and Department Superintendent Greg Given went to training on applying for a Community Development Block Grant for public infrastructure.
The process has changed with the letter of intent being submitted first and state authorities making a decision on whether the town has a need and it meets the criteria prior to application being submitted, Flagg said.
Amy Landry of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments is going to help with the town’s letter of intent, she said.
Flagg said the grant can go up to a $1 million.
At this stage there is no cost.
Flagg asked selectmen if they wanted to have a special meeting on trying to find a solution to get the system out of debt.
Selectman Louise Chabot asked if they wanted to have a work team to study the issue to look at options.
“I know we have big opposition from people who are nonusers,” Flagg said in regards to people not using the system to help pay for it.
The ad-hoc committee could work on the issue and bring an idea back to the board, Chairman Bill Demaray said.
“It is a big issue. I think it needs to be looked at further,” Chabot said.
Selectman Jeff Bryant said there should be users and nonusers on the committee.
Demaray asked for a list of loans the Sewer Department has and what the payments are each year.
Anyone interested on serving on the committee should call the Town Office at 897-3321 or stop by, Flagg said.