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Deciphering Your Water/Sewer Bills

The water/sewer bills that have arrived recently in residents' mailboxes are mystifying homeowners.


More than a few Montlclair Patch readers have asked how water and sewer bills are calculated, noting that the most recent bills seem outrageously high.

These same readers wonder why these bills can't be included in the overall tax bills.

According to the Township of Montclair, water and sewer bills are determined by usage and are paid to the Water Bureau and Sewer Utility, established a few years ago.

When water/sewer costs were included in tax bills, low volume users of the system were essentially subsidizing higher volume users of the system—meaning residents subsidizing businesses and other large enterprises.

The town's sewer rates ordinance can be found here while the water rates ordinance can be found here. 

Former Township Councilor Nick Lewis explained that the water and sewer bills are not included in your taxes because they are paid to two utilities that the town created several years ago to operate those functions.

He noted that these utilities are required by law to be self-liquidating and that the water rates are among the lowest in Essex County and may be among the lowest in New Jersey.

The actual water bill is based on usage so that a signifcantly leaky faucet or toilet could impact your bill.

What do you think of your water/sewer bills? Do they seem extraordinarily high? Tell us in the comments section below or email Shelley@patch.com.

know more August 03, 2012 at 10:53 AM
For those complaining and to do a fair assessment,it would be interesting to know the percentage of the water bill increase in comparison with previous years around the same time. This year in Montclair I've seen sprinklers on during and after a major storm. It was painfull to watch.
profwilliams August 03, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Stop with the questions... Montclair needs its money-- so KEEP CALM & PAY UP!
know more August 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM
To PRofWilliam- who is Montclair? Montclair needs a lot of things not just the money.
frank rubacky August 03, 2012 at 04:51 PM
The Montclair Water Utility does not charge for sprinkler or pool usage.
Crafty Spiker August 03, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Mr. Lewis seems to forget that the authorities are mechanisms used in previous administrations to hide horrendous tax increases. To add insult to injury, your sewer charges are no longer tax deductible. I believe this was a gift from Mr. Remsen and his gang ... oops ... council.

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