Rahway Council addresses water rate increase

RAHWAY, NJ — At Rahway’s City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 8, Councilman at large James Baker expressed his concern regarding an ordinance that would increase the average price for water.

“It was four years ago that the City Council approved of rate increases for the water, or water rate increases, and I’m just a little concerned about some of the figures that I see here in the ordinance and what the average cost would be for the average citizen and if there is some provision for senior citizens who are on fixed income,” Baker said during the meeting.

Rahway chief financial officer Frank Ruggiero explained to the councilman that the increases are, in fact, necessary.

“In order for their city utilities to maintain its self-liquidating status, referring to the fact that they generate enough revenue to cover their own expenses, these increases are necessary on an annual basis,” Ruggiero said during the meeting. “There is a provision for a senior citizen discount of a minimum bill of $5 for the month and, if you qualify for the senior citizen discount for tax collection purposes, you automatically qualify for water collection purposes as well. The minimum bill here on a monthly basis is $18.72 for the average homeowner.”

Baker asked if the water increases will occur annually from Jan. 1, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2031.

“That’s correct,” confirmed Ruggiero. “These increases were designed as part of the renewal of the management contract with Suez Water. It’s very important that the utility maintains its self-liquidating status and pays for its own expenses.”

This ordinance was approved by the council, with Baker abstaining.