DARIEN — For the first time since 2012, town officials have elected to raise the town’s sewer user fee.

The Sewer Commission voted unanimously at their Sept. 5 meeting on a 3 percent rate increase, up from $5.32 per 100 cubic feet consumed to $5.54 per 100 cubic feet consumed.

The rate increase reflects a delta created in part because of capital improvements planned at the Stamford Water Pollution Control Authority, where Darien’s wastewater is processed, and in part because of the drought that hit the area in much of the last year and drove down water usage in both Darien and Stamford.

“We have a shortfall of $390,000. The only way that we could make that up, from this comparison, is from the reserve. Meaning we would be taking about $400,000 from the reserve that’s holding $2.4 million.” said Director of Public Works Edward Gentile

Rather than make up the difference exclusively from the Department of Public Works’ reserve fund, Gentile advocated for a slight increase in the sewer collection rate in addition to a contribution

“It makes me feel comfortable to have this kind of reserve. Because if it needs to be expended, we have it to expend,” said Commissioner Peter Van Winkle.

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1