SPRINGFIELD, NJ — The local Township Committee unanimously voted to charge developers a $1.45 per gallon fee for sewage flow for new construction projects in an effort to offset costs for the township.
The fee approved at the June 25 meeting is similar to the rate Springfield is charge to purchase flow rights form Garwood.
“This is so when a developer comes in and puts up a building, we’re going to be collecting money for the purchase of flow rights that’s going to go into an account,” John Bussiculo, the township administrator, said at the meeting before the vote was taken.
“The money will either be used for purchasing flow rights or go towards upgrading our system in town,” Bussiculo said, adding that it has put a “burden” on the township to purchase additional flow rights.
When the resolution was first introduced at the May 28 regular meeting, Committeeman Richard Huber, who chairs the Public Works Subcommittee, said the move was “long overdue.”
“This is to protect the township,” he added.
The committee members voted unanimously at their May 14 meeting to adopt a $33 million municipal budget that allocated $305,000 for public works to potentially purchase Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority flow rights from other towns.
The RVSA is a 35-acre wastewater treatment plant in Rahway that currently serves 11 municipalities, about 250,000 residents and 3,500 commercial users. Its board is comprised of one representative from each of the following municipalities: Springfield, Clark, Cranford, Garwood, Kenilworth, Mountainside, Rahway, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Westfield and Woodbridge. Winfield Park and portions of Fanwood and Linden also are connected into the system, but are not members of the cooperative.
The resolution took effect as of July 1, and will remain in effect until June 30 next year, or until the committee adopts a new rate.
Mayor Erica DuBois said at the June meeting that a few residents had concerns regarding flow rights and sewerage at a community redevelopment meeting that was held on May 7.
“At that meeting, we mentioned that we’re working on some things and this is one of the things that we have been working on that is now moving along,” she said.
“This is just another step in the right direction in regards to dealing with sanitation, sewage and flow rights,” DuBois added.
At the May 7 meeting, residents brought up how the township has had issues in the past with going over its allotted sewage flow rights and that three large projects in town — to be built at the former Saks Fifth Avenue site, the Gomes Project and a site on Morris Avenue — will be adding more people to the area.
The Saks project proposes up to 220 apartment units, almost 50 townhouses and a combination of retail and restaurant space on the 9.7-acre site at 90 Millburn Ave.
The Gomes Project, also on Morris Avenue, calls for 140 residential units above retail space; the other site on Morris Avenue calls for 24 apartments above retail space. Both Morris Avenue sites will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with 15 percent of them being subsidized Mount Laurel housing, consistent with the township’s ordinance, like the Saks site.
It is unclear how the new flow rights resolution will affect these projects. Bussicolo did not return a request for further comment by deadline this week.