The Verona Town Council voted on Monday, February 10, to raise sewer user fees in Verona by 20% and to also increase the sewer and water connection fees paid by developers by 27%. Sewer fees had last been increased in 2002.
The new annual sewer user charge will rise to $600 per household, from $500. The developer charges for sewer and water connections will rise to $3,500 from $2,750. (The new townhouses being built in Cedar Grove on Fairview Avenue north of the Verona Pool are being connected to Verona’s sewer system and will pay the old rate as they come on line.) The change takes effect immediately, and will be reflected on first-quarter billing.
Town Manager Matthew Cavallo said at the meeting that Verona had been forced to make the increases because new regulations from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will require upgrades to Verona’s wastewater plant. He said that Verona’s user fees are “in the middle” compared to those in other towns.
Verona’s chief financial officer, Matthew Laracy, projects that the increase in charges will bring in $650,000 for Verona’s water and sewer utility, about $450,000 of which will be from residential users. Commercial users and multi-family buildings pay charges that are based on flow, and those will also increase. The user fees go to the utility’s budget and not the general municipal budget.
Councilman Alex Roman said at the meeting that he has visited the wastewater plant regularly during his time on the Council and has been concerned about the condition of the plant. He said that it would be better to pay for improvements out of the utility’s operating budget and not bond for them, which would incur interest charges.
The new fees are in Ordinance 2019-06.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the rate being paid by the Hovnanian Enterprises development in Cedar Grove that is being connected to Verona’s sewer utility.
I remember when the sewer tax first started…and the people in charge at that time said the fee would only last twenty years! Well it’s about 30 years and now they are raising our sewer fee…why hasn’t the extra 10 years of sewer fees offset this 20% increase?…just asking!