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April 25. 2013 12:00AM

Nashua mayor proposes sewer, wastewater hikes


LOZEAU 

NASHUA - Mayor Donnalee Lozeau has proposed raising the city's wastewater and sewer usage fees by 15 percent.

While it was discussed during Tuesday night's Board of Aldermen meeting, Lozeau was not in attendance, and aldermen did not vote.

"It is important to note that a percentage can make something look more extreme than it is. While I am proposing raising demand charges by 15 percent, for most users that will only constitute an increase of a couple dollars every month or quarter," Lozeau said Wednesday.

If a user currently pays a monthly charge of $8.05 for wastewater, they would pay $9.26 starting July, when the mayor's proposed rate increase would go into effect.

However, for heavier users such as businesses that have thousands in quarterly wastewater fees, the cost will increase by hundreds, at a minimum.

Also, under Lozeau's proposed ordinance, the flow charge per 100 cubic feet of wastewater would increase from $1.78 to $2.05 effective July 1. This would be on top of the proposed 15 percent increase for monthly demand charges, which would also go into effect July 1.

With the costs for the city's wastewater and sewer system operated under an enterprise fund, which is self-sustained through user fees, and the city mandated by law to provide wastewater treatment service, Lozeau said rates must increase to match increases in the needs of the wastewater system.

"We have to make sure we pay for the work we do on expanding the system; it is not an option to not build or run the system," Lozeau said.

Every year the city does an analysis of the wastewater system to determine if services are being met and if expansion is needed. Last year, fees remained stagnant as usage rates remained level. However, after an analysis was performed this year, Lozeau said it is time to raise the fees. "When it comes to the needs of building up the system, we are under a court order to do it. We must treat our sewage," Lozeau said.

bklein@newstote.com


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