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“We don’t intend on asking for a rate increase this year,” said Gmeiner, pointing out improvements in the town’s sewer system.

According to Gmeiner, if no increase is sought it will be the first time in 12 straight years that ratepayers would not be asked to pay more for services.

In order to raise $647,000 last year, the Sewer Commission voted to increase rates using a graduated tier system geared to water usage by customers.

With no increase needed, the current rates will hold for users of 0-15 units (1 unit equals 748 gallons of water) at $11.50 per unit; for users of 15-30 units at $13.33; and for users of over 30 units at $14.66.

Reasons given by the Sewer Commission for no increase being sought included tighter control over the town’s wastewater distribution system overall, better administration, a 500-customer base that is expected to jump by another 36 in the coming year, and an “inflow infiltration remediation program” which has succeeded in keeping excess groundwater from getting into the wastewater distribution system and costing the Sewer Department money down the line when it entered the Pepperell treatment plant.

“We are now enjoying the fruits of our labors,” noted Commissioner Thomas Hartnett of the progress made by the department.

Nevertheless, the Sewer Commission is still obliged to hold a public hearing on that rates and has scheduled March 6 for that meeting.