Council approves sewer fee increase, flood plain update

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Two public hearings were held at the Oct. 7 town council meeting in order to gain public input regarding an increase in sewer user fees and proposed amendments to the flood damage prevention ordinance.

Both items were subsequently passed by the town council with unanimous approval. The next meeting of the town council will be held on Monday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Plainville Municipal Center.

Sewer User Fees

The sewer fiscal year runs from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31, so any fee increase would be effective for the 2019-20 year. Town manager Robert Lee explained that town staff has recommended that the sewer user charge be increased by 2%. The minimum amount—paid by most residents—would increase $8 from $399.76 to $407.76. Well users would see a $10 increase from $495.68 to $505.58.

The sewer user fee increased during the 2019 year by 3.5%, when the minimum charge was increased by $13.52, bringing the total from $386.24 to the current $399.76.

“Part of it is the project came in under what we anticipated as far as the budget is concerned,” said Lee, “and part of it is people are paying their user charges as well, so we made out fairly well as far as our revenue side is concerned.”

The increase will allow for “prudent fund balance,” approximately three months worth of operating expenses. “We’re anticipating that if we get out to 2026 and these numbers play out the way they do, $1.3 million unassigned fund balance would translate to just a little bit over that three months of expenses,” said Lee.

Lee also explained that user fees can change each year and be recalculated next year depending on how the numbers track.

Flood damage prevention

Due to requirements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) several amendments were proposed to the flood damage prevention ordinance.

The updates include changes to the general standards regarding new construction, standards regarding elevation guidelines for commercial and residential properties as well as manufactured or mobile homes, information regarding floodways, special flood hazard areas, how long recreational vehicles can be on a site within the floodplain, the appeals process, specific situation variances, consideration for granting variances and enforcement.

Lee explained that these amendments are required by FEMA because, “the federal government provides the flood insurance for those people who are in the 100-year floodplain.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.