Using water will soon become more expensive in Presque Isle

Using water is about to get more expenisve in Presque Isle. Shawn Cunningham reports.

Photo: Pixabay

You might wanna be more conscious about your water usage this year. The price to pay for water throughout the Star City is going up says Presque Isle Utilities District Manager Frank Kearney (CARNEY).

"periodically PIUD examines its income expense and we find that this year we need to slightly increase rates for the water side of things so we have filed for rates to increase efective February 1st and the average increase across customer base will be 11.55 percent as filed."

Shawn Cunningham NO STANDUP

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Kearney says issues like infrastructure replacement of an antiquated piping system have had an impact on the water side of economics. Another issue is the nearly 8 million dollars in debt the PIUD has incurred through several loans including nearly 2 million dollars for a water main replacement that will be paid off in 20 years.

"Just this past summer we had 1.6 million dollars in debt to the water side which puts us over something about 7.5 million dollars in total debt for just the water division so the debt service is over a third of our income stream goes toward debt service."

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So what does that mean for taxpyers?

"our average customer is gonna see a five to ten dollar increase on a quarterly bill the best I can say it our minimum customer is gonna see about a six dollar increase about a third of our customers our minimum use where they're going to pay a certain amount's gonna be 54 dollars for three months up to 1200 cubit feet which is how we measure water use."

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Kearney says the water district hasn't had a rate hike since 2015. And he understands it might have an impact for residents...

"EPA sets an affordability standard which is about 2 percent of median household income and this rate increase puts water in Presque Isle 1.1 percent so we geel we're comfortably still affordable for people but using those guidelines but its still not easy for everyone we try to keep the increases to a minimum."

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Kearney says a rate increase of the SEWER division is also expected within this year. The increase was approved by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. Shawn Cunnignham < NS 8.