VASSALBORO — There is a possibility that the Board of Selectmen will consider increasing town funding for connecting a sewer line in the North Village to the Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District via Winslow.

Selectmen will discuss the idea at their Thursday night meeting in the Town Office, which starts earlier than usual at 6 p.m.

A resident brought the idea to the board’s attention at its last meeting, on March 7, after complaining that his sewer rates had skyrocketed recently. He wondered if an increase in property taxes could help offset the expense.

Chairman Lauchlin Titus pointed out at the time that he and many others in the town are not connected to that line and wouldn’t want to pay for it, but that the issue could get placed on the town warrant if it either gained the board’s approval or 211 citizens signed a petition.

KSTD is not a town department but will serve 192 households or businesses in Vassalboro, Town Manager Mary Sabins noted. The Kennebec County town has a total population of 4,347, according to a 2017 figure from the U.S. Census Bureau. Currently, the 192 users’ wastewater is being treated by three failing 30-year-old pumping stations that make up the Vassalboro Sanitary District, also not a town department.

The overall sewer project was estimated to cost $7 million. So far, Vassalboro has contributed $290,000 of TIF funds to the effort, according to Sabins. The sewer connection was identified as one of two high-priority projects for the town’s TIF development plan, the other being the Alewife Restoration Initiative. Each year, the selectmen split TIF funding close to equally between the two, according to Titus and Sabins.

The sewer project was awarded a $975,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state in 2018. The Vassalboro Sanitary District also received a $1.7 million grant for the project in November 2016, along with a $3.8 million loan for water and waste disposal.

“What they can’t find through grants, they’ll have to borrow,” Sabins said, adding that continued rate increases are a likely outcome in that case. She said that an engineer working on the project told ratepayers to ask the town for more funding at a public hearing the night rate increases were discussed.

The line runs east to north, mostly affecting the North Village area of Vassalboro, with some users in the East Village and along Main Street, according to Sabins.

“Potentially for development in the future, those with the line nearby could be required to hook up to it,” Sabins said.

The sanitary treatment district serves 35,000 customers in Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield, Benton and Oakland, its Superintendent Tim LeVasseur told the Morning Sentinel in December.

Other items on Thursday’s agenda include discussing the theme and dedication of this year’s town report and signing a revised investment policy.

 

Meg Robbins — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @megrobbins

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.