LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen voted Tuesday to reduce a proposed administration budget by $2,210 and send it back to voters who rejected the spending request at town meeting June 11.

The reduction came from the Trio Software line, which was estimated at $15,210 prior to a recent bill received for $12,937, Town Manager Stephen Gould said.

The amended article, which now stands at $316,266, will be voted on at a special town meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at the Town Office.

The former article requesting $318,476 failed by a vote of 66-61 at the annual budget referendum.

Selectmen did not change the elected officials’ account of $39,153, which was rejected by voters in a 66-64 vote. The amount was the same as last year’s.

All other articles in the $2.56 million spending plan passed. The budget reflected a $60,064 increase, or about 2.2%, from the current year.

The board Tuesday also held a public hearing on a proposed 15% increase in sewer rates.

If approved July 16, the current base rate of $65 per quarter, plus about 6.2 cents per cubic foot of water used, would increase to a base rate of about $75 and the cost per cubic foot to 7.1 cents per quarter for one unit, according to Gould. One unit includes an apartment or house.

Water consumption is based on meter readings provided by the Water District.

The auditor initially proposed a 30% increase for this year and 20% for each of the next three years. After doing more calculations and the auditor realizing that Jay doesn’t have ownership in the town’s sewer treatment plant, the proposed increase was lowered, Gould said.

The increase would give the Sewer Department, which is funded by sewer users, about $20,000 in a capital reserve account that would be used for repairs or replacements of lines or other sewer-related work. An inspection of the lines is ongoing and once completed the list will be prioritized for what needs to be done first, he said.

The department is in line to pay off an $80,000 to $81,000 loan later this year.

A few owners of rental properties raised concerns about the increase and what it will do to sewer bills.

“We as rate users for the sewer can’t replace the entire sewer (system) on our dime,” Wayne Knowlton of Livermore Falls said.

He doesn’t know how the increase could be passed on to renters, he said.

In Jay, the sewer rate will increase by half a cent July 1 to make it $315 per year for 3,200 cubic feet and any amount that exceeds it is 9.5 cents per cubic foot. Jay users get 3,200 cubic feet included in the base rate, Knowlton said, but Livermore Falls does not do that.

Michael Bibeau of Jay, who owns properties in Livermore Falls, asked how the board could justify a 15% increase.

The rate has not been increased for a while, Gould said. Costs go up and increases should be gradual, he said. A different board did not increase the rates to the auditor’s recommendation several years ago, he said. He was not the town manager at the time.

The department is looking at going to a rate system such as Jay, Gould said.

Sewer Superintendent Greg Given said the street lines are bad.

Any time Public Works Foreman Bill Nichols asks him what streets they would be working on for lines during a year, Given said he has to tell  him, “I don’t have the money.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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