Jaffrey sewer rate up 5 percent without state aid grant funding

  • State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.


    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

  • State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.


    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

  • State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.


    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

  • State Rep. Dick Ames, a Jaffrey Democrat, right, expresses his support for proposed legislation in the House to restore state aid grant funding. State Rep. Douglas Ley, a Jaffrey Democrat, left, also attended Monday's Jaffrey Select Board meeting.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    State Rep. Dick Ames, a Jaffrey Democrat, right, expresses his support for proposed legislation in the House to restore state aid grant funding. State Rep. Douglas Ley, a Jaffrey Democrat, left, also attended Monday's Jaffrey Select Board meeting.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

  • State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • State representatives Doug Ley and Dick Ames, both of Jaffrey, met with the Jaffrey Select Board on Jan. 14 to discuss deferred wastewater state-aid grant funding, as well as water and sewer rates.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • State Rep. Dick Ames, a Jaffrey Democrat, right, expresses his support for proposed legislation in the House to restore state aid grant funding. State Rep. Douglas Ley, a Jaffrey Democrat, left, also attended Monday's Jaffrey Select Board meeting.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

JAFFREY — Residents will see no increase to the town’s water rate in 2013, but the sewer rate will increase by 5 percent for the third consecutive year due in part to delayed state aid grant funding.

Proposed legislation in both the N.H. House and Senate calls for that funding to be restored, but there are no assurances at this time that Jaffrey and its neighbor, Peterborough, will see any change this fiscal year.

If a state aid grant promised to the town was in place, Jaffrey town officials say the annual sewer rate increase of 5 percent would be one-third less. The town has projected the same increase for 2014 and 2015 sewer rates.

The 2013 water rate will remain at the 2012 rate of $11.50 for the first 1,000 gallons and $1.40 for every 100 gallons thereafter. The sewer rate will increase from $1.59 to $1.69 for every 100 gallons, with a minimum usage charge of $12.75. In 2010, the sewer rate was $1.40 for every 100 gallons, with a minimum usage charge of $12.

The Select Board approved the new rates at its meeting Monday, where the Select Board discussed the financial hardship to the town since the deferment of a $6 million state aid wastewater grant. Jaffrey ranks among the top five sewer user rates statewide, according to Select Board Member Don MacIsaac.

Town officials learned that it would not receive a $6 million state aid grant towards the construction of its $18 million wastewater treatment facility more than two years after it had been approved on that basis at the 2007 Town Meeting, MacIsaac said Monday. Without the grant, he said, voters never would have approved the project.

Jaffrey is currently number 56 out of 100 other New Hampshire towns on the state’s delayed and deferred wastewater state aid grant list. Whether or not those projects could see state aid is largely dependent on funding levels for the N.H. Department of Environmental Services’ grant program.

Last on the list is the town of Peterborough. In 2006, voters at the Peterborough Town Meeting approved spending $10.32 million for construction of the wastewater treatment plant to meet new federal Environmental Protection Agency and N.H. Department of Environmental Services requirements. In 2008 voters approved spending an additional $3 million on the project when costs went up. Peterborough is eligible for a $4 million state aid grant.

Now, the two towns and others affected are working with state representatives and senators to pursue legislative action this year, in order to get DES funding levels restored.

At Monday’s Select Board meeting, Cheshire County District 9 State Representatives Douglas Ley and Dick Ames, both Jaffrey Democrats, expressed their support for a new Legislative Service Request, or draft bill. The request calls for an appropriation of $8.8 million for the first two installments of state aid grants owed to cities and towns and was drafted by State Rep. Tom Buco, a Conway Democrat. But at this time, there are no guarantees that Jaffrey and Peterborough will benefit from this legislation.

Ames said the appropriation process is one in which tough choices are made, but that he would do all he could to fight on Jaffrey’s behalf.

Since October 2008, the state has deferred all appropriations to the state aid grant program, according to a joint letter to the editor written by MacIsaac and Peterborough Selectman Barbara Miller.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan will present her recommended budget to the Legislature on Feb. 15, and MacIsaac and Miller are encouraging residents to write her, saying they want state funding for environmental state aid grants to be restored.

This week, MacIsaac met with chairs of the House and Senate finance committees, as well as other state leaders, in Concord. The N.H. Municipal Association has partnered with town officials on the issue, according to MacIsaac.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.