Rumford sewer rate hike approved

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RUMFORD — Selectmen voted 3-2 on Feb. 1 to increase the sewer rate by $12 per unit, to $176.

Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said she proposed two rates, $176 per unit and $186 per unit.

Selectmen Mark Belanger, Jim Windover and Jim Theriault voted in favor of the lower rate. Chairman Chris Brennick and Selectman Peter Chase voted against.

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Briggs said she recommended the $186 figure because the town is underfunded for repairs in the maintenance account. As a result, the difference is coming from taxpayers.

“It should be coming from the users,” she said.

Earlier, Briggs said, “Sewers are not sexy, but we have a hundred-year-old plant, and it’s all clay, and we’re having breaks in that infrastructure. And when you have one section that breaks, it’s very difficult to fix it without another one down the line breaking. And that’s what we’re facing. Our intermittent repairs are costing us an awful lot more money that it should.”

She said Rumford’s sewer rates are “among the lowest in the state. We’re going to do a rate study.”

Briggs said the sewer rate in neighboring Mexico is $225 per unit, but that also includes funding for capital improvements.

In other business, selectmen voted 5-0 to approve buying a new Kubota tractor for the Parks Department. The tractor was purchased from R.S. Osgood for $17,600, less $12,000 for the trade-in of the department’s 2016 John Deere tractor.

The board also approved $6,200 for repairs for the department’s 2012 Kubota.

Dan Richard, chairman of the Parks Department board of directors, said they were not happy with the John Deere machine, which needs $4,800 in repairs and now has an expired warranty.

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