The is anticipating a $13.32 increase for the ratepayer after they hold a rate hike hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
The LMUA is not “self sufficient” and relies on the Ocean County Utilities Authority, Chairman Jim Knoeller said.
“They keep raising the rate,” Knoeller said. “We’re anticipating the rate to cover what the county charges to process the sewage.”
The LMUA provides a collection of wastewater which is then discharged to the OCUA and treated at the Central Plant in Bayville, said Richard Warren, Executive Director of the OCUA. The OCUA bills customers, such as the LMUA, based on the actual number of gallons discharged to the system.
When the Ocean County Utilities Authority raises their rate, which they have the last four years, the LMUA is forced to increase as well, Knoeller said.
In 2011, the OCUA’s bulk rate for all customers was $3,825 per million gallons, which represented a 2.5 percent increase from 2010. The 2012 rate will be $3,882 per million gallons, which reflects a 1.5 percent increase since 2011, Warren said.
“Not everyone is on public water or sewage so it will impact the ratepayer,” Knoeller said.
The OCUA’s charges only represent a portion of the LMUA’s total budget, Warren said.
The present rate for the LMUA is $83.17 per quarter. After the rate hike, ratepayers will pay $86.50 per quarter, Knoeller said. The increase would be $13.32 for the year.
“I don’t want to raise it at all,” Knoeller said. “We don’t really have any surplus any longer.”
The LMUA has a Rate Stabilization Fund of $4 million to offset increases, he said.
“We’re running out of that money,” he said. “We can’t be running in the red as a business.”
Currently the LMUA is “revenue neutral,” Knoeller said. They have enough in the account for the next three years.
But with two new wells on the horizon, the LMUA is expecting to generate revenue, he said.
“We’ll have excess capacity with the new wells,” he said.
Each well cost $1 million and a total of $2.5 million for treatment, he said. The main reason for installing two new wells was to maintain non-contaminate water and to offset increases.
Since the wells will provide more water than the township needs, the LMUA will look to sell water to neighboring townships, Knoeller said.
The rate hike hearing will take place at the LMUA on Route 9 next to Mrs. Walker’s Famous Ice Cream Parlour at 7 p.m. The public will have the opportunity to voice their concerns before the commissioner’s vote.