Sewer rates may rise 20% over 4 years in Cape Elizabeth

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CAPE ELIZABETH  — Residents are facing a proposed four-step, 20.2 percent increase in sewer user fees.

The money would pay for nearly completed work on the Southern Cape Elizabeth Treatment Plant and address mandates from the Department of Environmental Protection to curtail the frequency of the town’s single combined sewer overflow.

In a Dec. 30 memorandum to the council in advance of its meeting on Monday, Jan. 9, Town Manager Michael McGovern said the cost of the system improvements and work needed to address the combined sewer overflow is estimated at $2.5 million over the next five years.

He said $500,000 to $700,000 of the cost could be funded from existing balances in the sewer user fund and $1.8 million to $2 million could be funded through a 15-year bond to be issued in 2014. The bond will additionally require about $150,000 in annual interest expense.

The proposed rate increases are 4.5 percent in March, 5.7 percent in 2013, 5.4 percent in 2014 and 3.8 percent in 2015.

The minimum monthly rates would increase by about $3 per month from 2013 through 2015 and by $2 more in 2016. 

The council on Jan. 9 is expected to set a public hearing on the proposed sewer user fees for Monday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. The rates will be reviewed at a council workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.

In other business Monday, the council is expected to approve food vendors at Fort Williams Park for a second season. A request for proposals identifies four vendor sites and permits in the park.

There are two spots (A and B) in the Portland Head Light Circle, a site (C) near the Ship Channel Overlook, and a new site (D) at Ship Cove Beach. The new site requires vendors to serve cold beverages and ice cream. All sites are from May 1 through Oct. 31. The minimum bids are $4,000 for sites A, B and C, and $2,500 for site D.

In response to a request from Michael and Stephanie Concannon, who want to open a gourmet market at 349 Ocean House Road, the council will also consider allowing an access and utility easement to the high school driveway for a lump sum payment of $5,000 to be credited to the Cape Elizabeth School Department.

The council will also discuss trolley and tour bus fees at Fort Williams Park.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.