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Sewer rate increase a go for Dixfield
DIXFIELD- The board of selectmen voted unanimously on Monday night in front of a couple dozen citizens to increase the sewer rate by 7 percent, which is less than half of what independent auditor, Ron Smith, proposed at the public hearing.
The rate increase was recommended following the town’s audit and finding that the current rate wasn’t sufficient in paying the town’s bill. There are more than $35,000 in outstanding sewer bills in the town and they had not seen a rate increase since 2007.
“Nobody looked at consumption like they should have,” noted Smith. “Your projections didn’t work out, now you’re going to be paying for the downfall back then, as well as your current price.”
Citizens questioned why nothing had been done until now, but with a whole new board and new town manager since the last increase, selectman Scott Belskis, noted, “That’s what we’re here for now. We’re going to pick up where the ball has been dropped. We’re going to get this done little by little over the next few years. It makes the most sense.”
Selectmen agreed to set the increase at $66.55, up from $62.33, and bring it back up for discussion in 2013 for re-evaluation.
Chairman of the Board, Macky Gill, noted, “There will be a public hearing before we consider any other increases.
Citizens present questioned whether the town was actually saving any money by having the four year contract with Ted Berry of Livermore to maintain and inspect their sewer infrastructure.
“Our public works department is not trained properly in how to inspect our pumps and all that goes with that job,” noted town manager, Eugene Skibitsky. “We need someone doing the job that knows what to do and how to maintain them properly.”
Citizens requested that a committee be formed in the next few months, comprised of selectmen and citizens who pay for sewer, to look at the entire water/sewer management and upkeep, and possibly to look back and find out where mistakes happened.
Smith noted, “It would be a waste of your time and money. You have no money for me to look back right now and if it were me, I would wipe the slate right now where you are and start fresh. You need to get this debt paid down.”