Residents of Colchester will get a chance to make their voices heard on sewer rate increases. The public hearing is Monday, July 9th, at 7 p.m. in city hall.
They face sewer rates of between $40 and $50 per month to pay for repairs to the city's sanitary sewer system. The hikes are needed to bring the city into compliance with federal EPA regulations.
Mayor Danny Bice hopes for a large turnout at the hearing.
He says, “”We need everything we can get for leverage to try to give our congressman to show what we're trying to argue that it's not feasible to absorb a $2.9 million debt.”
Bice is referring to the amount the city would have to finance if it receives a $1.1 million grant through the USDA's Rural Development program.
Bice maintains the city must get grant funding for at least half the estimated $4 million cost of the project. He says anything less would put too great a burden on city residents who would see significant sewer rate increases.
The city is applying for one grant during the current fiscal year. The city hopes to get extra funding from a pool of unused grant money in the Rural Development program that will be available later in the year.
Bice says the city should learn whether it has qualified for the $1 million grant in August. He says city will learn in September if it will qualify for money from the pool.