City Council to vote on water rate increase

City Council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance next week later this month that will increase water rates by an average of about 5 percent a year for the next several years.

The measure, (O-11-17) is scheduled to come up for a public hearing and final approval at the governing body’s April 10 April 24 regular meeting. City Council is scheduled to have its monthly pre-meeting conference on Tuesday to set the agenda for the regular meeting. Note: The regular meeting originally was scheduled for April 10 but rescheduled for April 24 because of the Passover holiday.

The ordinance sets water rates for each year over the next five years:

  • April 1, 2017 – $48.62 per 1,000 cubic feet (kcf)
  • Jan. 1, 2018 – $51.05 per kcf
  • Jan. 1, 2019 – $53.60 per kcf
  • Jan. 1, 2020 – $56.28 per kcf
  • Jan. 1, 2021 – $59.09 per kcf

City Council initially introduced two ordinances at its regular meeting in February that would set new sewer rates (O-8-17) and new water rates (O-9-17). The ordinance related to setting new water rates had to be reintroduced due to some minor discrepancies in the original ordinance.

Rahway Water Treatment PlanThe city has been in the process of renewing a long-term lease of its water treatment plant, which projects annual rate increases of about 5 percent over the life of the agreement. A new 20-year lease agreement could be approved and in effect by May.The facility on Westfield Avenue has been undergoing an assortment of capital improvements.

City Council last set water rates via ordinance in 2013 (O-39-13), when it approved an ordinance setting the water rates through 2018:

  • Oct. 1, 2013 — $39.37 per 1,000 cubic feet
  • Jan. 1, 2015 — $41.34 per kcf
  • Jan. 1, 2016 — $43.41 per kcf
  • Jan. 1, 2017 — $45.58 per kcf
  • Jan. 1, 2018 — $47.85 per kcf

The governing body hasn’t yet given final approval to the ordinance raising sewer rates (O-8-17). In 2007, sewer rates were separated from the municipal tax bill, establishing a flat annual fee of $245 for single-family homes. That fee was increased by 8 percent to $265 in 2009 and this year will become $290 (an increase of about 9.4 percent) once the ordinance gains approval by the City Council.