Payment period for water bills in North Brunswick extended to Aug. 10


Issues with how an environmental services company tested for lead in the Hillsborough Township Public School District’s water has raised some concerns with officials

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Residents of North Brunswick will have a reprieve from paying their water bill for the next month due to ongoing billing issues.

The due date for Cycle 1 billing was changed from July 10 to Aug. 10, per a resolution adopted during the Township Council meeting on July 6.

However, effective Aug. 11, interest on an unpaid balance for that cycle will begin to accrue, according to the resolution.

Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack has said the bills have been problematic for the past two billing cycles. He said the administration takes full responsibility for not only the bills, but for not being able to resolve the issues yet.

Womack offered an explanation to residents during the June 22 meeting of the Township Council. He said three issues have arisen as of late: bills that are suspiciously high, bills that are outrageously high, and bills that make no sense.

During the council meeting on July 6 – which followed other meetings on July 2 and earlier in the day on July 6 – the mayor clarified that officials identified an anomaly through which residents were billed at a higher rate and billed later in many instances, which caused the consumption rate to be higher, therefore putting homeowners in a higher billing rate category.

He said any resident affected will be offered a credit. Interim Business Administrator Justine Progebin said she did not have an exact number of homes affected, but did say the credit averages out to $10 to $15 per household.

Womack also noted Deerbrook Village had higher water rates because the complex is owned by an individual who may have included some pass along repairs in the bills.

“That will account for the vast majority of the water bill issues, although there are still some individual cases that have not yet been resolved,” he said.

To rectify the situation, Womack had said new members have been added to the township’s customer service team and their responsibilities are more well defined.

He said the software is being changed, as is the way the phone and logging systems operate. There is also a pledge to track complaints and to return all phone calls.

Also, the township will purchase auditing equipment from three companies so residents can track if their meter is leaking.

“Our promise to you is we will take every customer’s problems seriously and give each customer the time and effort necessary to offer a thorough and complete evaluation of whatever their problem is.

“We promise to provide polite, efficient and transparent customer service; and transparent means if we tell you something, we tell you why we tell you something, not just because we said so.

“Finally, our promise is to make sure bills in the future are timely sent, that they are understandable to read, and again, that they are transparent, which means there should not be anything on the bill you can’t understand or you can’t call us and have it be explained to your satisfaction,” the mayor said on June 22.