2018-02-16 / Local

Lisbon water rate is increasing by 10, 31%

Times Record Staff


Water rates are going up in Lisbon — but a public hearing Thursday didn’t generate much participation.

The Lisbon Water Commission discussed the new rates — which go into effect April 1 and will generate a 25-percent revenue increase for the water department — at the hearing.

“Overall the department is trying to improve water quality and stabilize the system,” said Nick Henry, the rate increase accounting consultant. “The system needs some significant capital investment.”

He noted that the department operates with annual deficits, and rates haven’t been raised since Oct. 1, 2014. Henry said the state average for rate hikes is about 3-5 years.

In Lisbon, about 96 percent of customers have a five-eighths inch meter; those customers will see a 10-percent increase in their minimum charge, and a 31 percent usage increase. Customers without a five-eighths inch meter will see a 31-percent increase across the board. The size of the meter refers to the size of the pipe bringing water into the home.

“We’re trying to minimize the rate increase on the largest number of customers,” said Henry.

Even with the increases, he said, the Lisbon water cost will still be below the state average.

One resident spoke to the commission, acknowledging a need for improved infrastructure but questioned if other options were explored.

“We don’t have a lot of commercial business. We don’t have a lot of high users in our town,” said Business

Manager Shellie Reynolds. “We used to have more with the mills, but unfortunately we’ve lost all of that.”

The commission was unable to look for grant money as water rates in Lisbon are still too low to explore that option. Chairman Marie Hale encouraged other residents to call the town if they had any further questions, but said the commission was in agreement the rate changes were needed. Water Department Superintendent Bill Alexander also began the meeting by encouraging residents to reach out to his department.

“If you have any dirty water, we’d really appreciate our customers to please call our office,” he said. “There have been many comments through the grapevine that our water is bad, but no one is contacting us so we can get to the bottom of it.

“If we don’t hear from you we think everything is fine,” added Alexander. “We need your help as much as you need ours. After all, it is the customers’ water system and we’d really like their participation.”


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