GARDINER — The city could lose $260,000 in revenue if the final quarter of sewer charges are waived this year as part of a proposed billing system change.

Under the proposal, which aims to make the billing fairer, customers would be charged a minimum flat rate in addition to charges based on actual use.

Now, the charge is an considered an equivalent user rate formula, based on what a customer has the potential to use.

City Manager Scott Morelli said allowing waivers will ensure a smooth transition in the fall.

But forgiving the last batch of sewer bills will result in loss of city revenues — as opposed to users paying that amount in a “fifth quarter” catch-up bill later this year.

City councilors will discuss the sewer abatements at tonight’s meeting, along with a recommendation to adopt the new rates, with no interest, from Nov. 1 of this year through Oct. 31, 2013.

The council meeting is at 7 tonight at City Hall.

Morelli said the proposal will allow users who will see large increases to adjust to their new bill with no penalty charges for one year.

“This enables a customer to pay their bill over the course of the year without penalty, with the assumption that they would have their balance paid in full by year’s end,” he said.

Morelli said some users will have a higher increase than 25 percent in their sewer bills with the change, while others will have a decrease in their rates.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant also serves Randolph and Farmingdale, which contribute to the annual operating costs.

In other business, councilors are scheduled to discuss a PACE ordinance, which would enable citizens to have access to the energy efficiency loan program through Efficiency Maine; a special events ordinance that details how a group can get a permit for an event on city property; and regional recycling.

Councilors also will discuss the board’s goals for 2012, which include marketing the community, rezoning Brunswick Avenue, upkeep of the city’s infrastructure, garbage disposal and recycling, a fund for buying older residential properties and an improved city website.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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