‘Town is transitioning from quarterly billing to monthly billing because many residents were not paying their sewer bills in a timely manner’

Rockport cites pandemic sequestering, higher administrative costs, watering as reasons for high wastewater, water bills

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 4:30pm

    Rockport residents on sewer and water lines inundated the Rockport Town Office July 28 with queries as to why their latest bills skyrocketed. In response, Town Manager William Post issued the following release July 29:
    “Rockport residents that are connected to the wastewater system recently received their quarterly bill for the months of April, May and June and may have noticed an increase.

    “There are several factors that play into an increase. The major factor being that residents have been quarantined at home for several months and are using more water for their daily activities, which leads to higher wastewater bills as the wastewater bills are based on the amount of water measured through the water meters.

    “The residents that have reached out to the Town Office this week have seen an average increase in their water usage of about 18%, which will have a direct impact on sewer bills even if there was not a rate adjustment. This 18% increase in usage would equate to roughly an increase of $48.51 in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house.

    “If residents have spent a significant amount of time watering outside landscaping such as flowers and grass, this would have increased the wastewater bill, as well.

    “A meter can be installed that will track this water usage and that amount is then deducted from your overall usage, thereby lowering the wastewater bill. If you are interested in this option, please contact Code Enforcement Officer Scott Bickford at 207-236-0806 x2. There is a charge for the meter, which is approximately $25.00 per unit and users will be responsible for reading this meter and calling Maine Water with the meter reading.

    “Another factor that contributes to an increase is that the new budget for wastewater went into effect July 1, which did result in an increase in usage fees.

    “This increase comes from increased expenditures in the administrative functions and operations of the system. The Town is transitioning from quarterly billing to monthly billing because many residents were not paying their sewer bills in a timely manner.

    “The Wastewater budget includes increased expenses for the monthly billing. Additional increases in the budget are from increases we will see with Camden and Rockland to treat our wastewater.

    “During a normal year, when people are not staying at home most of the day, and using the average water usage for a home, the increases in the new budget should result in a difference in the wastewater bill of about $53. per quarter or $17.66 a month.

    “If you would like more information or explanation of your specific wastewater bill, please contact Finance Director Megan Brackett at mbrackett@rockportmaine.gov or 230-0180.”