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Sewer Tax Criticized at Committee Meeting

Resident says she pays nearly triple in sewer tax compared with water usage.

A Sugarbush Court resident commenting during a Wyckoff committee meeting Tuesday night addressed concerns over high sewer tax rates.

“If the sewer rates were tied into the water rates, it seems to me that would be more fair,” said Elinor Fields, who has a yearly water bill of about $150 and a sewer tax of $438.

Township Administrator Bob Shannon explained that the town long ago decided to have a standard per dwelling tax rate.

In order to meet Fields’s request meters would have to be installed at each home and water comes from various sources such as Ridgewood Water, Waldwick Water and underground wells town-wide, according to Shannon.

Condo clusters would pose another challenge; Field’s condo association uses well water to irrigate the landscaping.

“It would be hard to judge how much water is used per unit,” said Shannon.

Shannon said 98 percent of the sewer tax goes directly to Northwest Bergen Counties Utilities Authoritysewage treatment plant costs. The remaining 2 percent goes to the municipality to maintain the sewer lines and collect the sewer bills.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years,” said Fields. “This just irks me. I don’t mind kids going to school [with my taxes]. But to pay more for tax on water than my usage bothers me.”

Fields also lamented the two recent water rate hikes by Ridgewood Water.

Wyckoff, Glen Rock and Midland Park are currently in litigation with Ridgewood Water in a $3.3 million class action lawsuit claiming Ridgewood funneled water utility revenue into its own municipal operating budget to avoid making hard cuts. Fields estimates her water prices went up 30 percent.

Have a question or news tip for Wyckoff-Franklin Lakes Patch? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

RICHARD COOK February 10, 2013 at 04:41 PM
LEAST HE HAS SEWERS I LIVE IN THE KNOLLS AND WOULD PAY TO HAVE SEWERS PUT IN. COUNT YOUR BLESSING IT COST ME MORE THEN THAT TO PUMP OUT SEPTIC
qdogPa February 10, 2013 at 04:52 PM
The better alternative to paying sewerage bill based on water usage is to simply meter the outlfow of sewage..Using water usage is terrible, as it would greatly inflate actual sewerage outflow..Many people irrigate lawns,wash cars,water gardens with a hose,top off swimming pools, etc, and thus would all add to sewer bill if water usage was the basis...
LC February 11, 2013 at 03:08 PM
I agree. I live in the same area as Mr. Cook and would welcome sewers. The septic maintenance is a yearly expense and quite a bit more than $438.

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