Wilton residents approve sewer upgrade

Source: Morning Sentinel, Waterville, Maine
Publication date: 2011-06-07

June 7--WILTON -- The $4.7 million project to upgrade the town's sewer system was approved by voters at Wilton's Town Meeting Monday night.

To pay for the project, the town's 995 sewer customers will pay an added $240 per year over the next 29 years on their sewer bills, according to town officials.

Some residents asked whether the town could delay paying for the upgrades to the 32-year-old wastewater treatment system.

Selectman Tom Saviello said the outdated system has been held together by using "duct tape and wiring."

"We've limped along and now it's time we've got to do something," Saviello said.

Wilton's last sewer rate increase was in 1987 and state officials have said the aging system is a threat to dump raw sewage into nearby streams and Wilson Lake.

Of the 112 voters at the meeting, less than 10 opposed the project in a voice vote.

Maine's environmental protection agencies would require an upgrade in the future if the system fails, Clayton Putnam, superintendent for the town Water and Sewer Department, told residents.

Putnam said Wilton sewer customers would end up paying more if the state took over the project.

The sewer rate increase pays off the debt on a $3,524,000 loan for the project. The United States Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development awarded the loan and a $1,172,000 grant to fund the town's sewer project.

Wilton would lose the grant money and low-interest loan if voters rejected the project, and state agencies may change the scope of the project, Putnam told residents.

Funding for the sewer project, which raises the town's sewer rates, is separate from the town's budget, which is paid for by town taxpayers.

Residents at the meeting Wednesday also considered passing a $2.85 million town budget, a 4.7 percent increase from the current year's $2.72 million budget.

Voting on the town budget and other warrant articles was not finished by press time.

David Robinson -- 861-9287



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