JAY — Trustees of the Jay Village and North Jay water districts will file for rate hikes with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, according to letters mailed Wednesday to customers.
Two separate boards of trustees elected by voters in those districts oversee the two districts. Superintendent Mike Wells is in charge of both districts.
The districts are run as quasi-municipalities and are not departments of the town.
Trustees hired consultant RHR Smith & Co. to audit accounts for both districts to determine what was needed to keep them viable. The districts have faced continual repairs on infrastructure over the years, which is consistent with water systems started in the late 1940s, according to the letters. In addition, Jay Village also had significant increases in rates from its sole water supplier since the last rate increase, according to the letter to its customers.
It has been 12 years since the last rate hike for Jay Village customers and eight years for North Jay customers, Ronald “Ron” Moreau, treasurer for both districts, said.
To try and ease the burden on customers, trustees have split the rate increases of 29.6 percent for Jay Village and 22.5 percent for North Jay over two years, he said.
“Had increases been done on a yearly basis, the impact would have been slightly over 2 percent per year,” Moreau said.
The proposed revised rates, if approved by the PUC, represent a 14.8 percent increase on Jan. 1, 2015, and an additional 14.8 percent increase on Jan. 1, 2016.
The average quarterly bill for a Jay Village customer using 1,200 cubic feet of water beginning Jan. 1 would be $65.01, or $21.67 per month, according to the letter. On Jan. 1, 2016, it would increase to $73.38 per quarter, or $24.46 per month.
Using the same scenario, North Jay Water District customers would pay $73.91 per quarter, or $24.64 a month, beginning Jan. 1, and $81.38 per quarter, or $27.13 per month on Jan. 1, 2016.
A public hearing on the proposed rate increases will be held for the Jay Village customers at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, at the Jay-Niles Memorial Library on Route 4 in North Jay. A public hearing on the proposed rates for North Jay customers is set for 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Jay-Niles Memorial Library.
Customers have the right to request information related to current and proposed rates before each hearing. The public advocate is available for assistance at 287-2445. Letters can be sent to the Public Advocate, State House Station 112, Augusta, ME 04333. The Public Utilities Commission can be contacted at 287-3831 or by writing to State House Station 18, Augusta, ME 04333.
The districts have spent thousands of dollars to repair lines over several years.
Most recently in September, the Jay Village district had a major break on a water line on Smith Avenue that cost about $8,000 to repair, Moreau said. The pipe had broken in the same area in July.
The districts are also trying to make it easier for customers to receive and pay their bills by offering electronic billing and online bill payment at www.jaywaterdistrict.com.
Jay Village has about 360 customers and North Jay has about 250.