FARMINGTON — Local water district customers soon will see a second 9 percent rate increase since 2009.

Customers of the Farmington Village Corp. will pay $48.16 quarterly for the first 1,200 cubic feet of water, up $3.95 from the current rate, starting Oct. 1, according to Jane Woodman, business manager for the Farmington Village Water District.

The corporation is the water district for Farmington, Temple and a handful of Wilton residents, serving a total of 1,550 customers.

The last rate increase occurred in 2009, when it also increased 9 percent, to the current $44.21 charge for the first 1,200 cubic feet of water.

The average residential home in the district uses 1,800 cubic feet of water per quarter, which will cost $64.98 under the new quarterly rate, compared to $59.57, Woodman said.

With the increase, the district still will have the lowest rate in Franklin County. The rate in Wilton is the next-lowest, at $48.30 for 1,200 cubic feet of water; and the rate in Rangeley is the highest, at $93.36.

Fire protection services in Farmington and Temple will not pay a rate increase until Jan. 1 because the towns already have set their budgets for the year, Woodman said.

The rate increase will provide money for equipment upgrades and the establishment of a reserve account and will allow the corporation to hire another part-time employee, Woodman said.

The change will increase the district’s operating revenue by $65,000 in 2014, up 7.5 percent from their 2012 operating revenue of $872,069.

Woodman said part of the reason for the increase is the cost of complying with a new regulation banning meters containing lead. She said each new meters costs about $120, compared to $78 for an older one.

The district already has started to replace the meters, and all will be replaced by the end of 2014, she said. Only new customers pay for their initial meters, and current customers will not pay a fee for the replacement, she said.

The district also is hiring a part-time employee to train as an assistant business manager. Woodman said the district has two part-time office employees, including herself, who have worked at the district for 30 years. They plan to train the new employee on the water district operations before they retire, though neither has immediate plans to retire.

The district has four full-time and three part-time employees.

Woodman said the district also intends to set aside $11,000 per quarter into a savings fund for later projects. She said the district hopes to build the fund so it will not need to take out loans later for projects such as replacing water mains and buying new equipment.

The $11,000 is about half of what the Public Utilities Commission recommended the district set aside per quarter, but Woodman said it wanted to prevent a larger rate increase.

Customers have until Sept. 11 to file a petition with the Public Utilities Commission about any objection they may have to the rate increase. If no petition is filed, the rate increase is approved by the commission by default.

The district held a public hearing Monday, attended by two area residents, to answer questions about the increase.

The Farmington Village Corp. water district was originally a village formed within the municipality of Farmington to provide local services. It’s one of nine village corporations left in Maine. About 40 years ago, the village corporation ceased taxing and suspended providing all services but water, Woodman said.

The district is directed by a three-person board of assessors elected by residents of the water district, and the daily operations are overseen by Superintendent Tom Holt.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]