The city is seeking to collect $809,000 in retroactive payments from neighboring towns and county government for using its sewer system in 2014 and 2015, according to an ordinance that received initial municipal council approval on Tuesday evening.
Municipal documents state Clifton owes $396,185.99, Haledon $388,815.09, Totowa $11,056.36, Woodland Park $9,213.63, Prospect Park $1,842.55, and Passaic County $1,842.55.
The surrounding towns have until June 30th, 2016 to make the retroactive payments for the past two years and enter into shared services agreements to undertake a sewer study to find a way to meter sewer flow coming into the municipal sewer system.
Cost of the study will be equally shared by all seven parties utilizing the city’s sewer system, according to city records. The agreements will also pave the way for the city to charge a fair rate to neighboring towns for using its sewer system.
City taxpayers have been subsiding the sewer bills of their neighbors in other towns while their bills have doubled over the past four years after the state mandated the city charge property owners more for sewer services, said city officials.
Towns that do not enter into shared services agreements with the city may have to pay sewer charges going back to 2007, according to city records. Many of the surrounding communities have antiquated agreements with the city that allows them to pay very little for using the municipal sewer system, according to officials.
Council held many discussions to charge the same rate to neighboring towns as city property owners; however, those discussions did not translate into concrete actions until now.