Voters in Derby Tuesday approved a $31.2 million sewer referendum 1,759 to 1,256.
Turnout was 61.6 percent, according to the town clerk’s office.
The numbers are unofficial until certified by the secretary of state.
The approval means the sewer bill for a typical one-family property will increase by $257 next year.
A typical two-family property will see a sewer bill increase of $514.
Larger non-residential users, such as Griffin Hospital, will see a $95,000 increase, according to numbers provided by City Hall prior to Tuesday’s vote.
Treasurer Keith McLiverty and Second Ward Alderman David Lenart said the results show the public took the time needed to understand the issue. No one was happy about the referendum, but something needed to be done to address the infrastructure issues.
“The voters were very astute,” McLiverty said. “They could see the train coming down the tracks, one way or the other. By passing the referendum they understood that they’ll be paying a level-loaded payment over time, instead of a bill that goes up and down, up and down, and up and down.”
Engineers for the Derby Water Pollution Control Authority have been saying pump stations in Derby are old and falling apart because the city turned a blind eye to its sewer infrastructure needs.
Rejecting the referendum, the engineers said, could result in costly emergency repairs even more expensive than the $257 increase the typical Derby family will now pay.
“The problem is that is has been put on the back burner for so who knows how long,” Lenart said. Residents knew the situation was dire.
“Not to be funny, when you flush your toilet, you really want to be sure the (stuff) leaves your house,” Lenart said.
Derby Mayor Anita Dugatto was not doing a victory dance in Derby City Hall when the results came in. She said she knows the increase will hit people hard.
“But they’ve been hearing about it for so long, they knew it had to be done,” Dugatto said.
Voters in Derby Tuesday also gave the city permission to borrow $3.7 million to make road repairs.
“I am very pleased that both bond referendum questions passed; it was evident that our constituents realized the importance of and value of these projects for the benefit, vitality and structural integrity of Derby,” Barbara DeGennaro, the president of the Derby Board of Aldermen, said in an email. “Thank you to all who voted.”
The sewer referendum money will be used to replace pump stations, upgrade sanitary sewer lines, along with a number of upgrades to the city’s water pollution control facility.
Bills next year will be due twice a year instead of once to help people pay it off. The city has promised to form a committee to oversee the sewer projects to keep the costs down.