The city council passed a measure to collect four years of owed sewer fees and increase the sewer connection charge on five municipalities and the county, according to the ordinance adopted on Tuesday evening.
“Folks were getting a free ride for a while,” remarked council president William McKoy. “This should have been done long time ago.”
439 properties in Clifton, Totowa, Haledon, Prospect Park, Woodland Park, and Passaic County use the city’s combined sewer system, according to city officials.
The six entities together will have to pay the city $1.54 million in sewer connection charges from 2012 through 2015 for underpaying their sewer fees based on antiquated agreements.
Clifton owes 754,923; Haledon, 740,878.23; Totowa, 21,068; Woodland Park, 17,556; Prospect Park, 3,511; and Passaic County, 3,511, according to the ordinance. Each government entity must enter into shared services agreements with the city and pay the owed amounts prior to June 30th, 2016, according to the ordinance.
By entering into shared services agreements the city will forgive the six government entities sewer fees from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, according to officials.
“It has been determined that the city of Paterson has significantly under-billed the sewer connection rate,” reads the ordinance.
The ordinance states it is unknown the amount of sewage that travels from each of the surrounding town into the city’s sewer system. The city wants conduct a study to calculate the flow from each entity so as to charge fees in an “uniform and equitable” manner, according to the ordinance.
The city in conjunction with the neighboring town will apply for a state loan to study the flow in dry and wet weather. Without a state loan the seven entities – including Paterson — will have to divide up the cost of the study to establish a metering mechanism to measure and monitor the flow, according to the ordinance.
The ordinance also makes mention the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is requiring the city update its sewer system; however, it does not mention whether
“Now our neighboring towns will have to pay their fair share,” added Alex Mendez, councilman at-large.