BROWNVILLE, Maine — After several months of discussion and a public hearing in late November, the Board of Selectmen voted Dec. 14 to have new, increased sewer rates in effect starting on Jan. 1 and continuing through 2016.
Because of budget constraints, the town has no reserves saved for the aging, 20-year-old sewer equipment, which could prove problematic.
Replacement costs for a pump that goes out could range from $4,000 to $5,000. Funds raised from the increased sewer user fees would be set aside to cover such occurrences.
The current quarterly sewer rate is composed of a $40 base rate with a user fee of $86.70, which together equal $126.70. The two rates would be adjusted over subsequent years, with the user fee being increased by $3.33 each of the next three years, then being increased to $90 next year and then staying at that rate. The increases would conclude at a $50 base rate in 2014 with a $90 user fee, for a total of $140. The rate is projected to stay at $140 for both 2015 and 2016.
In other business, the selectmen agreed to plow the parking lot near the Davis Street athletic fields so it can be used by snowmobilers. The winter maintenance work would be paid for by the Brownville Snowmobile Club at a total of $1,250 for the season from grant funds the club receives in reimbursements from the state. The rate could be revisited if a large number of storms hit the region, resulting in many additional hours of plowing.
“We’re trying to entice snowmobilers to stay in town,” Cheri Szidat of the Brownville Snowmobile Club said. “We will advertise park and ride for out-of-town guests with snowsleds and trailers. It’s all about enticing people to come here.”
Town Manager Matthew Pineo said Szidat approached him about town lots near the fire station on Railroad Avenue and on Spring Street being used for snowmobile parking in addition to the area on Davis Street. Pineo said these lots already are taken care of by the town after storms, so clearing the areas for snowmobiles should not be too troublesome once the crews had taken care of all the priority plowing and clearing in town.