Montville residents and business owners will start a sewer fee "vacation" Sunday for the remainder of the year.
The Township Committee, with one dissenting vote, established Tuesday night new sewer rates, effective Jan. 1, 2013. Residents and business owners will not pay a sewer fee from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2012, due to a $2 million sewer utility surplus.
When the new rates go into effect next year, residents without a meter will pay a base rate of $135. For those with a meter, the base usage for 0-100,000-plus gallons of water will be $80 and $3.10 per 1,000 gallons used.
Non-residential users will also pay a rate of $135 if they do not have a meter. Those who do have a meter will also pay an $80 base usage for 0-20,000 gallons of water and $3.10 per 1,000 gallons used. For usage that exceeds 21,000 gallons, the rate increases to $4.71 per 1,000 gallons.
Addressing concerns made by the public over a higher base rate for those without a meter, Mayor Tim Braden explained that the $135 base usage was chosen because it was the average cost based on the average family's water usage at about 20,000 gallons of water.
Braden also does not have a meter and commented that like other residents, "I have the option for paying for a meter to be installed into my home if I think the $135 is excessive."
Only Committee Member James Sandham voted against the ordinance, arguing the new rates dissuaded water conservation and there should be a higher variable rate.
"If the average user only uses 20,000 gallons of water, why would a house that uses 60,000 not be charged more for that?" Sandham asked.
Despite Sandham's concern, the ordinance was approved.
According to Township Committee Member Scott Gallopo, the fixed fee will drop by 15 percent and the variable rate will also decline by 15 percent for everyone as of Jan. 1, 2013.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the projected savings for residents was $14 per year.