Council approves increase in local water, sewer rates


FREEHOLD – Residents and business owners will see an increase in their water and sewer bill on April 1.

At its final meeting of 2007, held Dec. 27, the Borough Council voted 5-0 to adopt an ordinance which will raise water and sewer rates in Freehold Borough.

New Councilman George Schnurr abstained on the vote, having just joined the governing body that evening.

According to the ordinance, the rates for water and sewer are in need of revision to reflect the increased costs to the borough of providing these services.

A family of four currently receives a water and sewer bill of about $301 per quarter, according to Borough Administrator Joseph Bellina. That family’s quarterly bill will rise to about $324 with the new rates in place, he said. The increase amounts to about $8 per month, or $96 for the year.

Bellina said residential and non-residential customers of the borough’s water system who consume up to 500 cubic feet of water will be charged 76 cents per hundred cubic feet. Currently, a resident pays 72 cents per hundred cubic feet of water.

Customers who use between 501 and 4,000 cubic feet of water will be charged $2.35 per hundred cubic feet used. The rates continue to increase as the use goes up.

There is also a service fee of $7.85 per quarter.

The ordinance would also increase the rate for temporary water use. A minimum charge of $75 will be payable in advance. Currently, a user pays $50 for temporary water use (i.e. “special purposes temporary in nature where water may be required”).

Customers will also see a rise in sewer costs. Sewer rates in the borough are based upon water consumption as metered and recorded by the Water Department. The sewer rate charge is determined by multiplying the water rate by a factor of .27 for borough sewer expenses and 1.54 for Manasquan River Regional Sewerage Authority expenses.

At present, the water rate is multiplied by .2595.

Other charges will also rise, including the fee for a special water reading which will be $30, up from the current $15. If a resident has the water shut off there will now be a $30 charge for restoration of service, up from the $20 a resident now pays. That fee jumps to $50 if the restoration of service must take place after hours.

During public comment on the ordinance, resident Lynn Reich said that although she knew the rates would be increasing, she appreciated the fact that the borough’s water “tastes good and looks good.”

She said she believes the borough’s water is better than what is found in neighboring municipalities.