Sewer rate stays the same for now

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LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen voted to set the sewer use rate the same as last year’s at $50 for a base user rate for a residential unit, such a single-family house, and 3.55 cents per cubic foot of water used.

Town Manager Jim Chaousis and selectmen agreed that they would continue to review the rates over the next three months to see if they could come up with a solution to reduce costs and increase revenue so the Sewer Department is not operating at a loss.

Selectmen could still decide to increase the rate this year.

Sewer revenue that came in 2009 was $279,217,16 and the expenses were $350,966.75 for a net loss of $71,749, Chaousis said. But after factoring in some offsets, the loss ended up at about $60,000, he said.

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Chaousis said if the water-use-per-cubic-foot rate could be raised by 20 percent and the unit rate increased by 10 percent, then it would balance the department’s budget.

A good amount of the department’s expense is debt with six outstanding loans, he said, which is the bulk of the yearly payment.

The next largest expense is payroll.

There are four employees, sewer superintendent, two workers and an administrative employee that works in the town office.

Selectman Bill Demaray said that they would either need to consider combining with Jay or make some cuts to keep costs down.

In other business, selectmen voted to sell a 1988 Skyline mobile home to Guy Hart of East Poland for a bid of $1,750. The town foreclosed on the property for back taxes. It is set on a lot on Route 17. The minimum bid for the trailer was set at $1,500 to cover the taxes and the lot rental for the two months the town has owned the property, Chaousis said.

Hart’s was the only bid received for the property and he will be responsible for moving it.

Under the manager’s comments, Chaousis said that Fire Department Chief Mark Chretien resigned. With the budget time frame and a lot of requests for budgeting information it took up a lot of Chretien’s time, Chaousis said.

Ron Leclerc is serving as interim chief. The Fire Department has a meeting Wednesday and members are hoping to have a name to put forward for assistant chief. Leclerc has also said he is spending a lot of time at the department and wants to know when a permanent chief will be appointed, Chaousis said.

There is also a captain’s position vacant.

Chaousis also announced that Gilbert Lawn Care of Turner won the bid for care of the town’s grounds including recreation field, cemeteries, town office and others. The contract price was $8,000, which was $3,000 below what was budgeted.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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