Torrington sewer user fees for 2021-22 will rise, in part to pay for improvements

Photo of Emily M. Olson
Torrington City Hall

Torrington City Hall

File photo / Hearst Connecticut Media

TORRINGTON — It’s a matter of good infrastructure, according to sewer department Administrator Ed Tousey.

And based om those needs, the city’s sewer users will see an increase in their annual bill this year, including for ongoing improvement projects and an upgrade to the city’s sewer plant.

The City Council, acting as the Water Pollution Control Authority, approved increasing the sewer use fees for residents and businesses for the 2021-22 year.

The council voted unanimously this week to increase the annual fees from $274 to $302 for a residence, and from $274 to $302 per 65,000 gallons for businesses and other users.

The council also approved the WPCA’s 2021-22 budget of $5.6 million, which was originally based on the sewer use fee of $274.

No one spoke at this week’s hearing, which was held in advance of the council’s regular meeting.

According to a memo from sewer department Administrator Ed Tousey, the WPCA budget was left with a deficit. The operations and maintenance portion of the sewer budget increased to $596,742 over the current year, he wrote.

“The majority of the increase is related to increased staffing needs, electricity, chemicals and sludge disposal — $562,331 — due to the new plant coming online,” Tousey wrote.

Torrington is also upgrading its sewer plant on Bogue Road in Harwinton, which is being paid for by fees as well as a federal grant for $15.5. million. The city also is continuing to repay the cost of the 2012 New Harwinton Road Pump Station Upgrade, and sewer rehabilitation projects from 2009 and 2015, Tousey said.

Tousey encouraged the council to approve the increases, which will continue to help pay for the capital projects.

“I believe it is in the best interest to the long term sustainability of the infrastructure to continue funding capital improvement projects,” he said.

Tousey said each rate increase of $1 provides approximately $17,558 cash flow to help minimize future rate increases, to reduce borrowing when large capital projects are undertaken and to continue to move forward with the capital improvement plan.

“We currently have approximately $107.1 million in active and proposed capital improvement projects,” he said.