RUMFORD — Following a lengthy discussion, the Board of Selectmen voted Feb. 2 for a sewer rate assessment increase of $386 per unit to $490, as recommended by Town Manager Stacy Carter.
The voted was 4-0, with Selectman Eric McLean absent. Carter noted that the state average for municipal sewer assessment is $500 per unit.
With the increase, Carter said they are adding to the sewer reserve fund to do more capital projects as they are needed. Rumford is also looking at their sewer infrastructure to identify piping and pumping station replacement or upgrade.
There are 3,065 units in Rumford.
The town assessment from the Rumford-Mexico Sewer District is up $334,888 or 38.3%.
A primary reason for the increase, according to District Supt. Roland Arsenault, is that the Rumford Mexico Sewerage District is now required to have their sludge hauled out of town.
The change is due primarily to a new statute (LD 1911) related to PFAS contamination prohibiting the application or spreading of sludge, any compost material that included sludge or septage in its production, and any other product or material derived from or containing sludge or septage.
Regarding the assessment increase, Carter noted, “This is a big jump this year. We do plan on changing the way that we do our sewer rate for next year, and that’s based on our water usage. So that should lower the standard unit cost and make it more fair for those that use a lot of water. They’re going to be paying their fair share when it comes to the sewer rate.”
He said most of the municipalities in the state go by that method. “We’re just making sure that we have the correct data to raise enough funds so that we don’t have a shortage and not raise too much. I think a lot of people’s unit rate will go down.”
Carter that the town can expect to see public hearings during 2023 transition to this billing method the beginning of 2024.
He said, “We’re working with the mill as well because they’re a high consumer of water, but they’re pushing a lot of that to the sewer district, and we’re pushing them to fix their roof drains so that we exclude that unnecessary treatment.”
In other business, the board approved the box culvert bid of $160,900 by Superior Concrete LLC of Auburn.
Public Works Department Supt. Dale Roberts said this would be for a $400,000 project to replace a culvert on the Isthmus Road, which washed out in 2011. The project is contingent on the town being awarded $250,000 from the Maine DEP’s Municipal Stream Crossing Grant Program, which provides grants that match local funding for the upgrade of culverts at stream crossings.
The board appointed Rebecca Ulmer as a voter registrar, replacing Pam Kaubris, who resigned.


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