Public will have opportunity to comment on proposed sewer rates at hearing on Tuesday

LACONIA — The City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposal to increase the sewer rates when it meets on Tuesday, May 28, beginning at 7 p.m.
The sewer rate consists of a fixed quarterly fee and a consumption charge, which are currently $30 and $3.30 per hundred cubic feet (HCF), or 748 gallons, respectively.
The council proposes to raise the quarterly fee for metered accounts to $32.50 as of September 1, 2013, to $33.25 as of September 1, 2014 and to $34 as of September 1, 2015 and the consumption charge to $3.69, $4.19 and $4.75 at the same time.
The non-metered flat rate for sewer-only accounts would increase from $340 to $412 as of July 1, 2014 and to $452 as of July 1, 2015.
For metered properties, the average residential sewer bill, based on annual consumption of 120 HCF, is projected to rise from $516 to $572.80 in 2014, $635.80 in 2015 and $706 in 2016, or by 11-percent each year.
The rates support the Sanitary Sewer Fund, which finances the operating expenses and capital outlays of the system. At the current rates the fund is running an annual deficit of more $600,000. Finance Director Donna Woodaman projects that the proposed rate schedule would shrink the deficit to $287,711 in 2014 and to $69,442 in 2015 before returning a positive balance of $180,994 in 2016.