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Township Considers Sewer Rate Amendments

New rates based on Long Term Financial Planning Committee recommendations.

The Montville Township Committee voted Tuesday to introduce an ordinance of the township's Long Term Financial Planning Committee (LTFPC).

Under the new rates, residential customers' fixed rates would be reduced from $95 to $80 per quarter and the variable rate of $3.65 per thousand gallons used would be reduced to $3.10. Commercial rates would also be lowered.

Water/sewer rates have been a topic of much discussion after the township committee learned that the generated a for the past several years. The surplus was not thoroughly discussed at the township commitee meeting Tuesday, as Township Administrator Victor Canning said he is still waiting to receive feedback from the state on the township's options for what to do with the additional money, whether it be returning it to ratepayers, giving ratepayers a one-time holiday or using the money for something else.

"They're still working on the final numbers because we have to be mindful of the billing cycles and how they will go into the year 2013," Canning said.

Canning advised the committee to vote separately on the rate adjustment. Commiteeman Jim Sandham was the lone voter against the ordinance which followed the LTFPC's recommendations for the new rates. Sandham said he felt the variable rate for high-end users should not be lowered because it promotes conservation. He proposed a lower flate rate and higher variable rate, such as a $70 flat rate for residential users with a $3.67 variable rate or a $75 flat rate with a $3.39 variable rate.

"Pure dollars, in and of itself, is not as significant as we have a process in place that charges more for higher use," Sandham said.

Ultimately, the majority of committee members voted in favor of the LTFPC's rates and the ordinance was introduced. A public hearing on the ordinance will be held at the township committee meeting on June 12.

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Truscha Quatrone May 23, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I would like to do a follow up question to this article. Who are the residents that are consider high end users? Are these people who do not have a meter? The quarterly rate for an unmetered user is $148.00 so I am assuming the $90.00 rate is for metered users. I think it is an important question for all of the home owners who have wells and only pay for sewer.
Gary Lewis May 23, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Not excusing the length of time resolution of this issue took, but the Committee is to be applauded for tackling this rate issue head on, as well as availing themselves of the expertise of the Long Term Financial Planning Committee. Their analysis and report was detailed and spot on target. I belong to the segment that firmly believes these millions of ratepayer dollars in excess surplus should ultimately be returned to the ratepayers in some form. Gary Lewis
Dan Grant May 23, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Gary what are you running for. This growing surplus was in every yearly financial report since they raised the rates. They have taken money from the rate payers every year since 2005. They had to see the growing surplus every year when they looked at the yearly Financial Statement and they have a yearly audit as well which they all are supposed to sign and agree with. Now I find out that they also took $1.2 million from the Library surplus in addition to the $900 thousand taken from ratepayers. Thanks to Christie the law was changed to allow this but if it went into the general fund that may be why the AG's office is looking into it. That is $ 2.1 Million into the budget or roughly 8 percent of total tax collections. So much for this phoney 2 percent cap. I have to say I am not impressed with everyone patting everyone on the back at all. There is a whole lot of incompetance going on here. To bad the voters are so asleep. They could march on Townhall if they understood this scam.
Gary Lewis May 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM
So if I understand you, Dan, the better solution is to trash our elected officials rather than acknowledge them for (finally) lowering our sewer rates and returning the surplus to ratepayers. I could swear I have heard you say previously the surplus should be rebated to those who paid it. Should the relief have come sooner? Absolutely. Should it have happened in the first place? Absolutely not. We have no argument there. P.S. I didn;t know you were such a history buff (ie Warren Harding). Gary
Dan Grant May 24, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Gary, It is only trash talk if it isn't true. You are one of their "favorite son's" and defenders and I am clearly not. What you are saying is that if a group of thieves robs a store and then finally figures out that they will be caught and have to replace the proceeds of their theft that they ought to be patted on the back and told how great they are for figuring out how to replace what they took. These are the people who promised the voters that they knew better (New Voices, Better Choices). You can't hold Kostka or Gallopo to the same standard because they haven't been there long enough but they have been their long enough read the Tea Leaves. Their job discription is to bring the truth to the voters not protect the other Committee Members. It doesn't take that long to discover what happened here but this attitude of "everyone did a great job of putting out the fire (that they started) ought to end.
Gary Lewis May 24, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Sorry if I don't share your bitterness and cynicism, Dan. If you are comparing our elected officials to thieves, I guess we will have nothing further to talk about. Could they do better....yes. Are they dedicated volunteers.....yes. And, candidly, if you ask them they will tell you I have not been their biggest defender recently....but when they own up to a challenge and deal with it responsibly, any fair-minded person would acknowledge that.
Dan Grant May 24, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Cynicism absolutely, bitterness absolutely not. I used an example that I believe people can equate to this situation and if you believe they didn't see this surplus grow than you have to believe they are completely incompetent. All of the independent information is and was there so either they didn't know how to read it or they were hiding it to continue to pretend they are holding the line on taxes. It isn't just this issue. You are in Government. You know the land on River Rd. is a bad buy, politically motivated or worse. There are a lot of issues with this group and the hangers on around them. I write about it in my blog when Patch lets me because there is no other venue. BTW I have nothing to be bitter about. I got to serve the Township as the only Democrat to serve for 5 terms ever. I beat the best they had and no one on that side could have done what I have. I was a part of the best years Montville had for progress. I can go around this Township and see Thousands of children and their parents using the facilities and the Open Space I helped to create. No Gary it isn't bitterness that drives me it is a love of the only place I have ever have or will call home.
BTW May 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I believe the TC knew of the surplus and was trying to deal with it but had trouble getting information from the Water & Sewer Dept. who has a seperate accounting system. It took until this year for the LTFPC to get information they had been asking for, for over a year
Dan Grant May 29, 2012 at 05:02 PM
So you are saying that the Township Committee, (I refuse to call it the TC) took money from the rate payers for 4 years without anyone knowing how much of a reserve or surplus was there to be taken? That they raised rates rather than stop taking rate payer money ? That an employee of the Township refused to give them the correct information? Is that what you are saying?

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