Town Mulls Options for Water and Sewer's $4M Cash
Lowering rates, sending rebates, paying off debt and a ratepayer 'holiday' are among the options officials have mentioned.
Members of the Montville Township Long Term Financial Planning Committee will be wrestling with a multi-million-dollar question that Township Committee members want addressed as soon as possible: What should the town do with about $4 million cash that the Montville Township Water and Sewer Department has on hand from operating at a surplus in recent years?
Lower rates? Send customers rebates? Keep the money to pay off debt? Or, should the town give ratepayers a "holiday" one pay period, an idea mentioned by Mayor Jim Sandham at the Township Committee meeting on Tuesday?
Robert Lowenfish, the town's interim director of finance and a longtime member of the Long Term Financial Planning Committee, said there are a wide range of options to be considered.
While Township Committee members said they have been questioning for more than a year whether the Water and Sewer Department was operating with too much of a surplus, the projected surplus for 2011—$651,937 for sewer and $175,000 for water—is larger than expected because the department's expenses were lower than anticipated, Lowenfish said at the meeting.
Committeeman Scott Gallopo said he is uncomfortable with the situation and disappointed it wasn't already addressed.
Officials said a preliminary look at the overall 2012 municipal budget numbers shows the town is expected to be in sound financial shape. Depending on revenue assumptions used, the budget could stay flat or increase by about 2 percent, though it's still early in the process.
"It's good indications," Sandham said.