Friday, September 07, 2007


Below is a re-print of an e-mail that Mayor Metzner sent to all available e-mail addresses of Winslow residents.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sue Ann Metzner
Sent: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 1:47 pm
Subject: Your Water & Sewer Rates: An Explanation

Mayor Sue Ann Metzner
Your Water & Sewer Rates: An Explanation

Dear Neighbor,
There has been a lot of very legitimate concern in the township over the rising water and sewer rates. I know these rate increases add to an already excessive property tax burden for our residents, and I want to take this opportunity to explain the reasons for the increase.

First of all, property taxes do not pay any utility expenses. They fund other government services, with a portion going each to our schools, the county and the state. Unfortunately, the only sources of revenue for our utility budget are connection fees, any surplus amount, and usage fees.

For nine consecutive years, usage fees did not increase at all. We were able to manage our budget with connection fees and the surplus. But in 2006 and 2007, those revenue sources are just not enough to support the budget. In 2002, we raised nearly $4 million in connection fees -- money that went directly into the system. But in 2006, we received just $365,000 from connection fees. And we are expecting even less in 2007 because the state has imposed a strict moratorium on any additional sewer connections.

We did not want to raise rates while sitting on a large surplus, so we drastically cut our surplus to satisfy our expenses without raising usage fees. But now our surplus is just not enough to cover the expenses of running the utilities. We have done everything we can to minimize the increase and keep expenses as low as possible. In addition, we are working with New Jersey American Water to supply part of our water demand in an attempt to have the moratorium on connections lifted. Once that problem is solved, a number of new commercial projects should give us a significant rise in connection fees and a much larger commercial tax base to ease the property tax burden on homeowners.

With these new developments in sight, I am very confident that we can keep lower utility fees for all our residents and improve the quality of life here in Winslow. Accomplishing this is a top priority for me, and I will redouble my efforts to see that we succeed. I welcome any suggestions, comments or questions you may have. Please don't hesitate to contact me at I welcome your contributions to this process.


Sue Ann Metzner