FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday unanimously approved a sewer budget of $952,937 for 2013, a decrease of nearly $234,000 from last year.

Customers will see a decrease in quarterly sewer bills now that debt payments on the 1993 upgrade of the wastewater plant are finished.

The new minimum sewer use charge is $36.43 per quarter for all customers.

The minimum bill for 2012 was $38.34 per quarter for residential/rental customers and $49.63 for commercial customers, Town Manager Richard Davis said.

“The distinction between the residential/rental and commercial categories has been eliminated, and all customers will pay the same rate,” he said.

That is a 5.2 percent decrease for residential/rental customers and 36.2 percent for commercial customers. 

The town had received federal grant funding that could only be used to lower residential and rental costs resulting in a higher rate for commercial customers. The money is now gone and the new rates are the same for everyone.

The board agreed to spend $20,000 from reserve funds to purchase a new propane boiler for the plant. The propane boiler lends itself to a potential future conversion to natural gas and an oil furnace would require up to another $10,000 to rebuild the chimney.

The sum of $100,000 will be set aside for future projects at the 41-year-old plant originally built in 1972.

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