OXFORD — Hook up now and save more than $1,000, was the message interim Town Manager Becky Lippincott gave to more than 50 people at the municipal building Wednesday night.

“I, for one, am hooking up. Who’s with me?” shouted Nick Rochester as he threw his arms in the air.

The meeting was to give residents details of the program, but 24 hours later Lippincott said only one person had signed up.

“It was a good start in the right direction,” Lippincott told selectmen at their meeting Thursday. “It will take time and patience. But we’ll get there.”

Only 22 customers are hooked into the $28.5 million wastewater treatment plant and local officials say they need more.

While residents are not mandated to hook into the new sewer system if their system is operating properly, the town is offering an incentive to save them substantial hookup costs if their system fails.

“We’d like to make it as easy and affordable as possible,” Lippincott said.

Residents have two years to take advantage of the program.

Last year, voters approved $250,000 in town funds to provide $500 subsidies for hookups through a revolving loan fund managed by selectmen.

Lippincott said the hookup costs would probably range from $500 to $5,000, based on variables ranging from topography to electrical service and distance from the street. But users must hire an electrician and plumber to connect the line to the house and decommission the old septic system. Residents can dig the ditch to lay the 6-inch pipe to save money.

Residents were told the average cost to be on the town sewer system would be $112.50 per quarter or $450 per year, plus $2 for every 100 cubic feet of metered water used or $152.50 per quarter at an annual cost of $610 for the unmetered water.

For example, she said, a home with two users on metered water would be $900 annually. The actual costs are determined by the number of users and water usage.

According to information at the meeting, there is no application fee but a $40 minimum plumbing permit fee must be paid.

Lippincott said Everett Excavation, the company that worked on some of the project, is available to inspect a residence and give an estimate of what it will cost to hook into the system.

The sewer connection incentive program was developed to get more users to the system to support the wastewater treatment plant operationally and financially.

At the annual town meeting Saturday, voters OK’d raising and appropriating $1.27 million for the wastewater treatment account, mostly to pay part of a 20-year bond that financed construction of the plant.

The anticipated number of users by the end of the first year has not been met and grants were not available to financially offset some of the cost.

Applications for sewer service installation are available at the Town Office on Pleasant Street.

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Oxford resident Nick Rochester, standing in the back of a packed meeting room at the Town Office on Wednesday night, asks for a show of hands from residents who will take advantage of the town’s sewer connection incentive program.


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