Franklin Countys First News

Jay board sets sewer rate, supports watershed study

JAY - The Board of Selectpersons maintained the current sewer rate at Monday evening's meeting and indicated a willingness to support a watershed study for Parker Pond.

The board unanimously approved keeping the sewer rate at a minimum fee of $315 for up to 3,200 cubic feet of water usage, with a 9 cent charge for each cubic foot used beyond that. That's the same rate sewer users are paying in the current fiscal year.

That rate is projected to raise roughly $470,000 to cover the majority of the Sewer Department's operations and maintenance budget. Roughly 10 percent of that budget is covered by local tax assessments.

The board also heard from Rob Taylor, a teacher at Spruce Mountain High School and advisor of the school's Envirothon team. An idea that emerged out of recent Planning Board discussions was to conduct a watershed study of Parker Pond, a local source of drinking water. The study would be similar to the one conducted in Wilton for the Wilson Lake, Pease and Varnum Ponds.

Parker Pond is fed by the James Brook, which itself is fed by smaller tributaries. Interestingly, while Parker Pond can be a source of drinking water, land within its watershed is entirely off the town's system.

Parker Pond has exhibited some potentially troubling indications in the past, Taylor said, such as low dissolved oxygen levels deep within the pond in the summer months. One potential issue local ponds can face is an algae bloom, triggered by increases in phosphorus levels, which in turn can cause issues for collecting the water for drinking purposes. Common sources of phosphorus are fertilizers, Taylor said, but also simple erosion, as local soils are high in phosphorus .

A watershed study would look at potential impacts to Parker Pond by studying the bowl-shaped topography that leads down into the pond. The study would use volunteers and would be optional, landowners could opt out. The idea would be to identify potential impacts that were the most damaging to Parker Pond and also the easiest to fix. Taylor said that the process was designed to be educational, rather than punitive.

The Wilton study identified 89 different nonpoint pollution sites in the three watersheds it looked at. Roads were the most common sources, making up more than 50 percent.

The Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program conducts workshops and has provided some grant funding to support watershed studies in the past. Taylor said that he believed the study could be conducted at no cost, using volunteers. He asked the board to become shareholders in the process, later potentially helping with a mass mailing if it became necessary.

Board Chair Terry Bergeron said the study was a great idea. "Water's very important to everyone," he said.

Taylor also discussed conducting a study for Moose Hill Pond, as volunteers would already be in the area. The study would likely not occur until the summer of 2019.

In other business, the board approved the single bid it received to repair the sand and salt building that was damaged over the winter. Thomas C. Goding Building Contractors was awarded the bid at the cost of $23,350. The vote was 3 to 1 in favor of accepting; Selectperson Goding, the owner of the business, left the board for the matter and did not vote, while Selectperson Gary McGrane said that he felt the bid still represented a conflict of interest.

The board also accepted a bid of $2,255 from Randy Jewett to purchase wood harvested from town land alongside the East Jay Hill Road.


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5 Responses »

  1. Can someone help me understand, I have my own septic tank and have to pay to get it pumped. Why do I have to pay sewer bills?

  2. If you mean part of our taxes going to cover part of the sewer costs, its because covering sewer regulations is in good part a we thing. The operational costs are 90% paid for by users. The other 10% and the cost of loans etc for building the plant etc are covered by taxes, grants, etc.
    If you don't have any kids you could ask the same question about being taxed for the school budget.
    It comes down to community and a we thing.

  3. How about we all chip in next time the truck shows up at my house to pump my tank. Its a we thing.

  4. One can use all the other services in town if wanted but the sewer is not available to everyone. That is the difference. It is my understanding that all sewer service is legally supposed to be covered by the users.

  5. The town of Kingfield has a system that pumps all homeowners tanks on a rotation. Perhaps that would work for Jay so the taxpayers that have private systems get something out of paying for the sewer department.