WATERVILLE — Councilors on Tuesday will consider taking a third and final vote on a proposed $36.3 million municipal and school budget for 2013-14.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the council chambers at The Center downtown.

The council also will discuss with Waterville Sewerage District officials an annual $271,000 stormwater treatment fee that the city pays to the district and that city officials dispute.

Summit Natural Gas will give a presentation on its plans to build a pipeline through the city, and public works director Mark Turner and City Manager Michael Roy will discuss a road maintenance program.

The city for more than 30 years has paid stormwater treatment fees to the Waterville Sewerage District. Last year, it paid $271,000 in fees.

The city never questioned the fee until last year.

Roy and City Council Chairman Erik Thomas, D-Ward 4, say the city is merely one district customer, yet it is the only customer singled out to pay the fee.

The sewerage district is a quasi-municipal entity whose members are appointed by the mayor and council. The district has its own charter and was created by the state.

The district does two things: It routes the city’s water to the Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District, another quasi-municipal entity that is completely separate from the sewerage district; and it manages stormwater and catch basins.

In addition to the stormwater treatment fee, the city pays the sewerage district $266,800 annually for maintenance of its stormwater catch basin system.

There are two drainage systems: one that carries sewer water to the treatment plant and another that carries stormwater to the river.

More than half of the sewer flow to the treatment plant is stormwater that includes rainwater and groundwater that gets into the sanitary system through cracks in pipes, basements and roof drains.

Earlier this year, city officials said they wanted a court to decide whether the city should continue to pay stormwater treatment fees. The sewerage district agreed to do a rate study, and the city agreed to pay the $271,000 fee this year, allowing the sewerage district the time to do the study.

However, Thomas and Roy said the sewerage district decided not to do the rate study until late 2014 — much later than the city was hoping for.

That means the city would have to pay $271,000 the fee not only this year, but also next year, Roy said.

Thomas says $271,000 is a lot of money, particularly in a tight budget, and he does not think the city should pay the fee.

“We feel like we’ve been more than reasonable and we don’t feel they’re (sewerage district) acting in the best interest of the city,” he said.

The city invited sewerage district trustees to Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the matter. Roy said district superintendent Roland LaPointe will attend.

In other matters, the council will consider a final vote on the proposed $36.3 million municipal and school budget. If it passes the tax rate would increase $1.75 per $1,000 worth of assessed property value. With a $1.75 increase, the current property tax rate of $25.65 would increase to $27.40.

A property owner whose property is assessed at $100,000 and who paid $2,565 in taxes would pay $2,740, or a $175 increase.

Meanwhile, Summit Natural Gas will give a presentation on its pipeline distribution plans in the city.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

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