When Gardiner elected officials meet this week, they will consider a proposal to increase sewer rates in the city.

A public hearing on the plan has been scheduled for Wednesday’s City Council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Wastewater Director Douglas Clark recommends increases totaling 15 percent that would be phased in over three years starting July 1.

In materials submitted for the City Council’s review, Clark said the proposed budget for his department is $1,657,103 and the proposed revenue is $1,522,671, leaving a deficit of $134,432.

The Wastewater account is an enterprise fund, which means it’s supported by its own revenues. While fund balance was used in the current budget year to balance the budget, and some fund balance is anticipated to be used for the next budget year, Clark said the practice is unsustainable.

Under the proposal, the increase in the first year would be 9 percent, and 3 percent in each of the two following years. In Gardiner, the minimum quarterly sewer charge is $87, which includes up to 1,200 cubic feet of flow (8,976 gallons) as measured by Gardiner Water District meters.

After the first increase, the minimum quarterly charge would go to $94.83. In the next year, it would go to $97.67, and in the final year, it would go to $100.60.

The same percent increases would apply to the usage rate. Currently, every 100 cubic feet of flow over 1,200 is $10. That charge would go to $10.90 in the first year, $11.23 in the second year and $11.56 in the third year.

Clark said the last time the sewer rates were increased was in 2010. While he’s not committed to this particular schedule, he said the target he’s seeking is 15 percentage points over three years.

City elected officials are also expected to hear a presentation of the final version of the city’s sidewalk reconstruction plan, which was funded in the city budget approved in 2016.

Also scheduled is a presentation by Mark Oullette of Axiom Technology, who will talk about conducting a broadband internet study for Gardiner.

Because the Feb. 7 meeting was canceled due to bad weather, some items on that agenda have been carried forward.

City elected officials are also expected to consider:

• Approving the first read of a proposal to change provisions in the Land Use Ordinance regarding indoor cultivation facilities, following a public hearing

• Setting minimum bids for tax acquired properties at 28 Spring St., 14 Plummer St., and 494 Water St.

• Accepting a $10,000 donation from the Coomb Trust to buy body armor for firefighters and paramedics

• Accepting $8,500 from the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency for equipment for the radio tower on Libby Hill Road

• Appointing Amy Dyer, Rus Baer , and Geri Doyle to city boards

• Approving a special event permit for the Maine Adventure Race

• Approving a victualers license for Locos Southwest Grill

• Approving a liquor license renewal for the The Depot Pub

• Extending the current memorandum of understanding for interim city manager services

Three executive sessions are scheduled, to discuss employee compensation, to give direction in filling the city’s economic development position and to reopen the discussion about hiring a city manager.

The Gardiner City Council meets at 6 p.m., Wednesday in the City Council chamber at 6 Church St.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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