Home » Hopewell Township Approves 20% Sewage Rate Hike for September

Hopewell Township Approves 20% Sewage Rate Hike for September

by Cat Jackson

At their May 6 meeting, the Hopewell Township Committee announced a 20%. sewage rate hike starting in September. The Committee also discussed FEMA reimbursements, introduced new employees, and highlighted upcoming community health initiatives.

ELSA Rate Increase

The last increase in sewage rates was in 2013. As a result, the rate hike will be large: a 20% increase will impact citizens for the September billing cycle.

As a self-liquidating utility, ELSA is paid for by the fees collected from the residents who use it. While these fees should be sufficient to both maintain the sewage system and provide a surplus for future repairs, recent improvements have burned through a significant portion of the surplus.

Plus, more improvements and repairs still need to be made.Township Administrator George Syder highlighted current signs of damage that will require assessment and repair: leaves have been found in parts of the system that are supposed to be sealed off, and the flow rate is increasing in a way that suggests groundwater is entering the system.

“We’ve been performing several maintenance projects on the pump station, such as replacing the grinder teeth, replacing the mixer, the stand- however, the water mains, along with the pump station, are over thirty years old,” said Snyder to explain the extent of the repairs.

While the Committee expressed appreciation that the sewage rates were low for so long, there has been no provision for inflation in the ordinances. The proposed ordinance will include a default minimum increase to prevent sudden hikes in sewage rates and ensure the budget surplus remains comfortable. This default rate increase will be fixed to the Consumer Price Index, with flexibility to set a lower or higher rate increase in the future.

Information about the upcoming sewer utility price increase and a provision for regular future rate increases will be discussed at the next Township meeting on May 20.

FEMA Reimbursement

The Township will be receiving about $13,000 from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) closeouts, as a final payout following Hurricane Ida. According to Snyder, these payments will cover administrative salaries,incurred during the hurricane’s aftermath.

Community Health and Safety Initiatives

The Township welcomed two new employees: a registered environmental specialist and a senior environmental specialist.

Hopewell Health Department and Central Jersey Lead and Healthy Homes Coalition will be hosting a joint seminar on Friday, May 17, from 10 to 11am. The title of the seminar is “Eight Principles of Healthy Homes.” Free water testing and radon testing kits will be available to attendees. The seminar is specifically targeted at senior citizens, but all are welcome. More information is available on the Township website.

The deadline for registration to vote in primary elections is Tuesday, May 14th. The Democratic ballot will be in a block style, while the republican ballot will be row. Deputy Clerk Jessalyn Walters encourages all citizens to familiarize themselves with these sample ballots.

The next Hopewell Township Committee meeting will be on Monday, May 20.

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