Marion raises water and sewer rates, adds new usage tier

May 26, 2021

MARION — A typical household with an average of two and a half people will pay an additional $55.97 in their annual water and sewer bill in fiscal year 2022, based on rates approved Wednesday by the Board of Selectmen.

In an effort to keep rates lowest among those who used the least water and sewer services, a fourth usage tier was added. This kept the increases from being felt more heavily among those with smaller households that typically use the least water and sewer and often have the lowest incomes, Town Administrator Jay McGrail said.

For sewer users, the base charge that everyone pays would be $133.94, an increase of 2.5% from fiscal year 2021. From there, charges paid by users who fall into the first and second tiers would increase by 2.5%, the third tier by 3% and the newly added fourth tier by 10% more than the third tier.

Tiers are determined by usage. The newly added fourth tier primarily involves people with irrigation systems or commercial users, Finance Director Judith M. Mooney said.

The sewer rates are impacted in great part due to debt service on the $10 million wastewater lagoon relining project.

For water users, the base charge would be $44.37. Users who fall within the first three tiers would see increases of 3%, while those in the newly added fourth tier would pay an increase of 15% over the third tier charges.

McGrail reminded the public that the best way to keep costs down is to be conservative about water and sewer usage. He advised that residents be aware of leaks in pipes, toilets and irrigation systems.

“Leaks can cause your usage to go way up,’’ Mooney said.

Selectman John Waterman echoed that sentiment. “It’s amazing the amount of water a leaky toilet can use,’’ he said.