STRONG – Residential, commercial and governmental water district customers here face a 20 percent increase in rates to help cover increased operational costs and loss of income from Day Mountain Pond.

Public fire protection rates would increase 17.11 percent.

Strong Water District trustees are holding a hearing on the proposed increase at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, at the Foster Memorial Building.

The base rate of $36.76 will increase to $44.11 on Oct. 1, if the rate is approved, Treasurer Betty Whittaker said Monday.

It’s the second increase since 2003 for the 200 customers or so. Rates jumped 32 percent then.

When Forster Inc. was open it leased Day Mountain Pond to run its power plant and boilers. Now that it’s closed and the new owners don’t need the pond water, the district has lost the revenue that came from that, Whittaker said.

The district also faces a $5,000 increase in its Maine Bond Bank payment for the system installed 25 years ago, Whittaker said.

A line break last year that cost about $2,500, she added.

There have been several things that have happened to cost more, Whittaker said.

If customers are not happy with the proposed increase, she said, they could petition the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Petitioners could ask the PUC to suspend and investigate the increase on or before Sept. 16.

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