FARMINGTON — A proposed water rate hike will cost less than buying an extra half-gallon of milk each month, Steven Levy, executive director of Maine Rural Water, said at the Farmington Village Corporation public hearing Monday.

The minimum rate of $44.21 per quarter would rise by $3.95 to $48.16 per quarter. The proposed 8.94 percent increase means an extra $1.32 per month or $3.95 per quarter for a minimum 1,200 cubic feet of water consumed, Levy said.

“That’s less than I pay for a package of gum,” he said.

For an average family of four using 1,800 cubic feet of water per quarter, it’s an extra $1.78 per month.

Hearing no concerns about the proposed increase, corporation trustees have 30 days to file the requested hike with the Public Utilities Commission. The rate increase is expected to take effect Oct. 1.

The additional $65,544 is for operational costs and a contingency fund for future projects and equipment, which would decrease debt, Levy explained to the one customer and one non-customer who attended the hearing.


Projects that would benefit from a contingency fund include replacing the main reservoir liner, trustee Chairman James Andrews said. The liner is nearing the end of its life expectancy, he said. Savings wouldn’t pay the whole amount of the costly project, he said, but would reduce the amount borrowed.

The company is also phasing out old meters for new lead-free models for its 1,600 customers, Jane Woodman, business manager, previously said. The older meters run slower, causing a loss of revenue for the department.

“The water utility is in good shape,” Levy said. 

Maine Rural Water assessed the company’s figures and helped come up with the proposed rate increase.

Farmington Village Corporation’s rate is lower than several water systems in Franklin County, according to information gathered by Woodman. 

Farmington’s rate, set in 2009, of $44.21 per quarter for a minimum 1,200 cubic feet, compares to Dixfield’s $69.44, Jay Village’s $56.65, Kingfield’s $63, New Sharon’s $74.09, Rangeley’s $93.36, Strong’s $63.31 and Wilton’s $48.30, according to her handout.

The one non-customer attending the hearing questioned employee use of company equipment on personal time. Andrews explained the company was not a town department supported by taxes other than the costs associated with fire protection. 

The water corporation has an informal policy that allows the occasional use of equipment for employees, who sometimes use their own vehicles for company needs, he explained.

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