Cranford officials will decide tonight whether to officially change the township's current sewer billing system to user-based fees, rather than having the fees determined by property values.
If the Township Committee approves the ordinance at its 7:30 p.m. special meeting, residents will be charged according to a system of tiers. Under the proposed change, homes that use between zero and 75,000 gallons of water will be in the first tier and pay $175.
Approximately two thirds of the houses in town will qualify for this first tier. Homes that use more than 75,000 gallons of water will qualify for the second tier, and will owe $175 plus an additional 12 cents for each gallon after 75,000. The third tier will be made up of Cranford taxpayers who use more than 300,000 gallons of water. This primarily includes businesses. According to the proposed ordinance, seniors citizens will receive a rebate of $125. The Cranford School District is exempt from the ordinance.
Neighboring municipalities such as and Scotch Plains currently utilize a usage-based sewer system. In an effort to learn more about the system as the ordinance was being developed, Cranford Township Attorney Dan McCarthy consulted with several Clark officials and administrators to discuss their sewer service. Clark charges for sewer service on a sliding scale based on the water bill of each household and residents pay a minimum sewer fee of $225 for zero to 100,000 gallons of water used in the prior year. If residents exceed 100,000, it's two cents for each extra gallon. Clark established and approved the user-based fee in 2006. Since that time, residents have seen a 10 percent reduction in costs.
In addition to the sewer billing ordinance, Cranford officials will also discuss the introduction of an ordinance that will allow the township to appeal the decision made by a judge last week that will allow 360 residential units to be constructed on .