After weeks of review and discussion, the Winthrop Town Council quietly approved amendments to the town’s water and sewer service ordinance at its meeting last week.
The amendments adjust prices charged to some water and sewer customers, both residential and commercial. Most noteworthy, from a public discussion standpoint, is that overnight transient rentals and single-family tourist accommodations will now be charged 1 equivalent residential unit (ERU) for three or fewer bedrooms, compared to .78 ERU in the past.
Also, the term “condominium” has been eliminated from the ordinance because they are classified as residences and not commercial property, while the category of single-family residence will now include duplexes. Accessory dwelling units will be charged 0.5 ERU.
Some owners of units in the Cascade Condominiums project had argued that the increase from .78 to 1 ERU for overnight rentals was not justified. The town’s public works director, Jeff Sarvis, defended the increase because, he said, the lower rate “is inconsistent with Winthrop Municipal Codes.” The new rates take effect on June 1.
In other business at its May 15 meeting:
• The council learned that the town’s marketing director, Rebekah Peterson, will be leaving the position as of Sept. 1 because her family is moving to the Burlington area. Peterson assumed the position last fall. She had been retained as an independent contractor on a one-year agreement for $37,560. Council member William Kilby, who represents the town on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, said a process to select Peterson’s replacement is being developed. The town may seek applications for the position.
• The council learned that discussions are proceeding in the town’s condemnation action related to a tiny piece of property needed to complete the Susie Stephens Trail link to Highway 20. At issue is a small slice of a parcel owned by the Fodor Decedents Trust, adjacent to Highway 20 across from the Pardners Mini Mart. The .08-acre to be condemned is needed for an easement that would allow the trail to be extended from its current end-point to the highway, where a crossing will be installed at some point.