Water, Sewer Rates To Rise Sharply

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The Town Council approved a plan on Monday to sharply increase water and sewer fees over the next five years.

Under Ordinance 2024-08, water rates would rise from $26.64 this year to $31.17 in fiscal 2028, which means that the average quarterly bill would jump to $238.92 in 2024 and to $299.50 in 2028. The quarterly sewer rate would rise from $159 to $186. Beginning next year, the town would also impose a surcharge for remediation made necessary by the presence of harmful chemicals known as PFAS in Verona’s well water.

The increases grew out of a rate study conducted by NewGen Strategies and Solutions that was presented to the Council on February 26. The firm was tasked with forecasting all water and sewer system costs including the remediation now underway at Verona’s two wells to to bring the town into compliance with state standards on chemicals known as PFAS. In its report, NewGen said that Verona’s 2023 rates would not be enough to support the Water and Sewer Fund over the next five years. But it also cautioned that any increases made now might not be the last because its 10-year model projects a need for increases beyond the first years.

Councilwoman Cynthia Holland, who had appealed to the Council to have a rate study done, conceded that the increases are “shocking.”

“But I do also want to comment on the fact that this is the cost of inaction,” Holland said at Monday’s meeting. “Because while water rates remained stagnant for many, many years, our infrastructure was deteriorating, and there wasn’t new investment in that infrastructure.”

Holland also suggested that Verona residents could mitigate some of the increase. “You can manage your water usage,” she said. “We’ve had an incredibly wet winter. I do think that we don’t probably need to be watering our lawns as much this year as maybe folks had in prior years. I really consider those conservation measures as a way of mitigating the rate increase impact.”

Read More On Verona’s Drinking Water

Why We’re Buying Water From Passaic Valley

The Rising Cost Of Fixing Verona’s Water

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