Sewer Services to be Fee Based

WPAF SignGroton Utilities will be gaining a new business on July 1st when sewer services become part of the Groton Utilities mix of business enterprises.

City residents and businesses will be billed for sewer services starting in July, when sewers become fee based and not tax based. Sewer bills will be determined on the amount of water consumed each month of the year. The sewer charge will appear as a line item on your water bill due to it being calculated at a specific rate per cubic foot of water used.

Essentially sewer charges will be using the same cost of service approach to rates as water and electric have been using for years. Sewers become an enterprise account.

The sewer rates are designed to be revenue neutral, meaning most customers will not see any major change in costs due to the change of how sewers are financed. In a practical sense, this means that any reduction in your tax bill will now be offset by your new sewer charge.

There are, however, exceptions because the volume of water used by various businesses can vary. Non-profits will also now be paying sewer fees, because the new rate system is based on water volumes. Prior to this change sewer costs were part of a property owner’s annual tax bill. The City of Groton was one of only a handful of municipals in the entire state who continue to use taxes to finance sewer costs.

One positive note is that by switching from tax funding to fee based funding for sewer services the City of Groton will be able to apply for special state grants, which it could not previously do because of the tax based sewer-financing system.

The new method of paying for sewer services will allow a more business-like approach. It will also allow for a more realistic approach to providing financing for upgrades to the city sewage system.

Groton Utilities understands that it is important to maintain the environmental integrity of the Thames River estuary and Long Island Sound. We contribute to that integrity by releasing quality effluent from the City of Groton’s sewer treatment plant. A fee based sewer system will enhance our historical support of meeting or exceeding that goal.

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