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Municipal Utilities Authority Hikes Rates by 4 Percent

Sewer service and consumption charges will increase by $13.32 for the year

The Lacey Municipal Utilities Authority (LMUA) voted unanimously to raise rates by 4 percent at its annual rate hike hearing Wednesday night.

“It is necessary to examine the rates and fees to ensure the authority's revenues are adequate to support our expenses including operating and maintaining the water and sewer systems, meeting our bond obligations and preparing for the long-term repair and rehabilitation of our infrastructure,” Executive Director Edward Woolf said.

The adjustment to current water service charges is a $5.16 increase for the year. The present rate for the LMUA’s sewer service and consumption charge is $83.17 per quarter. After the rate hike, ratepayers will pay $86.50 per quarter. Additional rates are listed below.

A rate increase is necessary to support the 2012 budget increases, Woolf said. In July, the LMUA was notified that the Ocean County Utilities Authority (OCUA) would be increasing the sewage disposal charge by 1.5 percent, which amounted to $48,000.

Next to debt service, the OCUA’s charge to process waste is the largest portion of the LMUA’s budget, Chairman Jim Knoeller said. The cost is more than the LMUA’s operating budget.

The projected debt service for 2012 is $4,437,929 while OCUA treatment fees amount to $3,241,470.

“If we don’t pass it on, accumulating more debt, accumulating more operating expenses and sooner or later we’re going to really have to hit our ratepayers with a tremendous increase and that’s what we’re trying not to do,” Knoeller said. “We’re trying to level the playing field.”

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 OCUA raises their rate, which they have the last four years, the LMUA is forced to increase as well, Knoeller said.

“We’re looking at a way to maintain a business approach, balance this budget, come to almost a revenue neutral point where we can pay for our operational expenses without looking at other money to pay for that,” he 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.

Over the years, the LMUA has relied on rate stabilization funds, which are now near depletion, Woolf said. The fund for water is down to less than $300,000 while sewage is at $1.5 million.

Even though the LMUA’s annual budget decreased by $212,779, the rate increase is needed to balance the budget, Woolf said.

Resident Regina Discenza  hears her husband scream every time he opens the LMUA bill.

“I’m sure a lot of other people in our neighborhood open up your bill and they scream,” she said.

Discenza asked the LMUA to protest the OCUA’s rate increase.

“This has been going on for years now. I think they’re the one’s running a muck and then they cause you guys to go looking for ways to balance everything out,” she said.

Discenza recommended the LMUA pass a resolution asking the OCUA to stabilize their rates.

“Let them do the belt tightening, let them do the layoffs, let them do the reapportioning that you guys are forced to do,” she said. “I’m tired of hearing it…I’ve never seen somebody go to the OCUA and say "Go to hell" and I think it's time.”

Knoeller assured that the LMUA does speak up against the OCUA and there is a discrepancy over the current rates.

In the future, the LMUA hopes to use two new wells as a form of rate stabilization. Wells seven and eight are 1,500 and 1,600 feet deep and will provide excess capacity, Knoeller 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 LMUA is in the process of receiving a water allocation permit as well as building a treatment facility, he said. The wells are expected to be in service by the end of 2012.

The following adjustments to current charges were passed at the LMUA’s rate hike hearing:

Proposed Adjustments to Current Water Service Charges Quarterly Service Charge Meter Size (inches) Current Rate 2012 Rate  5/8 $32.13 $33.42  3/4 $35.34 $36.75 1    $44.98 $46.78 1 1/2 $57.84 $60.15 2    $93.13 $96.86 3    $353.33 $367.46 4    $452.91 $471.03 6    $674.55 $701.53 8    $931.53 $968.79

 

Proposed Adjustment to Current Water Consumption Charge Metered Water Consumption Charge Current Rate per 1000 gals. 2012 Rate per 1000 gals.   $4.97 $5.17

 

Proposed Adjustments to Current Sewer Service & Consumption Charges   Current Rate 2012 Rate Quarterly Service Charge $83.17 $86.50 Rate 1 (0-18, 750 gals.) $1.12 / 1000 gals. $1.16 / 1000 gals. Rate 2 (18,751-50,000 gals.) $4.04 / 1000 gals. $4.20 / 1000 gals. Rate 3 (over 50,000 gals.) $7.60 / 1000 gals. $7.90 / 1000 gals.

 

Proposed Adjustments to Current Water & Sewer Connection Fees Initial Service Connection Charge Water- Service Size (inches) as it enters the building Current Rate 2012 Rate  3/4 $5,300 $6,470 1    $6,650 $8,100 1 1/2 $8,600 $10,450 2    $11,200 $13,650 3    $16,900 $20,600 4    $21,700 $26,450 6    $32,300 $39,400 8    $44,600 $54,400       Sewer- 1 Equivalent Service Unit $17,500 $1,550

 

Cost Recovery Fee for Water Meter Tampering $500 per violation
tired of being fleeced December 08, 2011 at 12:20 PM
I thought republicons were against big govt and taxes? Guess not Thanks for fleecing the tax payers again Glad to see the OCUA will still get their 5 k and FREE BENEFITS FOR meeting once a month ! Wonder if rates will go down if the LMUA sells the extra water or will the profit be used to pay the diner bills? Just wait until the conservative republicons lol on the Tc want to exceed the 2% cap with more bonding
Pat L December 08, 2011 at 01:13 PM
I'm a senior that doesn't get automatic raises to my income, the first Social Security increase in three years will be negated by medicare increases. What are people in my situation to do, I guess we should stop using water, gas, electric, food and not get sick. Make sure we can pay our ever increasing taxes and insurances. I'd like to get together with some folks in my situation, maybe we can vote ourselves a raise
patricia doyle December 08, 2011 at 01:45 PM
You can bank on that happening.
patricia doyle December 08, 2011 at 01:49 PM
I'm not retired, but I'm among the many Americans who, although we still have our jobs, haven't seen a raise in YEARS (three and counting). Yet, my expenses continue to rise. Patrick, you can vote. We should have voted in Vaccaro last year. He is thoguhtful, responsible, responsive, and smart. He would have been a great addition to the TC, and would have made thoughtful changes in the way we do business. I'm hoping he takes another shot at it. Lacey needs more like him.
tired of being fleeced December 08, 2011 at 01:55 PM
I agree with Tim How much money does the LMUA have and why? How many employees ? Have they had an audit? Why didnt the LMUA call out the OCUA for its 12 Commissioners led by Mr Parker who STILL receives the 5 k and FREE BENEFITS BEFORE RAISING RATES? gotta love those anti big govt former union guys receiving a pension what a joke
Regina Discenza December 08, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Everyone that can should attend the next OCUA meetings on Tuesday Dec. 20 at 4PM for the caucus and at 5PM for the public meeting. Tell them to stick their rate hikes where the sun doesn't shine!!
tired of being fleeced December 08, 2011 at 02:37 PM
gotta stop voting blindly for the republicons and start asking questions like how do you become a commissioner on the LMUA and do you get paid and how much do they get any kind of wink wink benefits
Grime December 08, 2011 at 02:37 PM
I wonder if GRAY SUPPLY,( a member of the network ) still gets free TWP water???
Grime December 08, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Dont worry , Dave Most will take care of everything!
tired of being fleeced December 08, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Lake Barnegat DR looks and drives Great Thanks Tim any luck in obtaining salaries and expenses financials of the LMUA? wonder what what boy Christie would think of the LMUA oh thats right its republicon led making it ok to fleece the tax payer
john December 08, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Years ago we had a nonbinding referendum which would have incorporated the LMUA into the Township. If I remember correctly, it passed. This would alleviate double everything (administration, workers, professionals etc.) for the Township and also the LMUA. Maybe this should be addressed again?
tired of being fleeced December 08, 2011 at 03:11 PM
John Maybe? no not maybe this needs to stop NOW! the fleecing of the tax payer must end Maybe Dave Most can look into it
Silver dollar December 08, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Gee I wonder why they raised the rates? .Could it be because only 2 members of the public show up for there rate increase meeting to give there opinion? Maybe more people should show up to express the feelings to higher rates.You have your chance on Derc 20 at 4:00pn
tired of being fleeced December 08, 2011 at 03:52 PM
really? gee I wonder why this is "You have your chance on Dec 20 at 4:00pm" Most ppl are working but you voted for them buddy its pretty easy they raised the rates cause that how they get PAID
Silver dollar December 08, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Thank you for correcting my spelling .Guess I still have a lot to learn Also I did not vote for all of them
JOHN DOWNER December 08, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Network, Thats an Understatement Knoeller PULEEZE!!!! THE LOCAL POOL GUY RUNNIN THE WATER CO!!! WOLF A DO NOTHING, PULEEZE!! PARKER SHOULD HAVE ABOLISHED THEM YEARS AGO LIKE HE WAS GOING TOO BUT NEEDED FREE WATER FOR HIS ENTERPRISES. GET RID OF TOWN MUA ,LET KNOELLER OVERSEE FOR PUBLIC WORKS LORD KNOWS HE HAS FLEECED LACEY SINCE 1980.CANT WAIT TILL WE CRACK THE BOOKS IN LACEY!!!!!! ITS COMIN ALONG WITH ALOT OF OTHER THINGS IN 2012 JUST WAIT.
Pat L December 08, 2011 at 05:07 PM
DAVE MOST??? He's part of the problem
Grime December 08, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Do you really think Knoeller gives a crap about raising rates????!!!!! He lives in Bamber,hes got a WELL & SEPTIC SYSTEM!!!
Al Dente December 08, 2011 at 05:59 PM
How many employees would it take to save the money that necessitates the increase in rates? Maybe it is time to merge the MUA into the township and reduce administrative overhead. Thanks for the coal for Christmas Barbara. Did the county tell you not to make wave and go ahead with the OCUA increase quietly? Keep quiet and you can keep your Ocean County Deputy Clerk job.
Regina Discenza December 08, 2011 at 11:33 PM
For the record, the current LMUA Commissioners are: Jim Knoeller, Chairman, Mike Masciale, Richard Kennedy, Skip Miklosey, Mr. Lanuto (not Barbara). Alternates are Jack Nosti and Nick Juliano. If someone else would just GO to their meetings, people might know this. Attny: Jerry Dasti, Engineer: Remington, Vernick and Vena. Accountant: Frank Holman (yes- same guy that does the Lacey Township School District.)

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