RAHWAY – Sewerage fees will go up $20 a year per household and businesses will see their rates increase by eight percent. Water fees will also increase — for the second time this year – by five percent, bringing the total rise to 10 percent. Residents who use the minimum will pay about $10 a year more.
The local GOP sent out automated phone calls alerting residents to the planned fee increases, and about two dozen angry residents came to last week’s City Council meeting.
Council members and City Business Administrator Peter Pelissier said that the increase was necessary to improve the sewer utility.
Council President James Baker insisted that the fee was not a tax, but Republicans argued that it was a tax hike. “If I don’t have a choice, it’s a tax,” former council candidate Bryan DesRochers said.
Rahway Republicans also pointed out that last year, the all-Democrat administration sent a letter to residents promising that sewer fees would not be raised
Pelissier said that rates were not expected to be increased, but the higher rate is necessary to pay for pump replacements. The business administrator said that pumps sometimes fail, causing sewerage to back up into basements of homes.
Municipal GOP Chairman Patrick Cassio argued that a surplus in the general budget could be used to pay the sewer and water costs. Pelissier responded that any surplus in the general budget would return to the taxpayers.
Sewer fees are likely to increase again in the future, due to the cost of improvements necessary for the sewer system.
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