The fee to connect a sewer line to the Manasquan River Regional Sewerage Authority (MRRSA) system will increase from $1,970 to $2,231 in two months.
The MRRSA has five member municipalities – Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell and Wall Township – and serves more than 100,000 residences and commercial and industrial establishments in Monmouth County.
The authority’s connection fee was initially scheduled to increase on Oct. 1.
During a Sept. 15 meeting of the Howell Township Council, Mayor Theresa Berger, Deputy Mayor Evelyn O’Donnell, Councilman John Bonevich and Councilman Thomas Russo passed a resolution which called on the MRRSA commissioners to delay the increase until March 1.
On Sept. 16, the MRRSA commissioners met and voted 5-4 to delay the increase until Dec. 1.
MRRSA Executive Director Brian J. Brach said the commissioners from Howell and Farmingdale voted no on the motion because they wanted the increase pushed back to a later date.
According to the resolution that was passed by the Howell council members, the fee increase goes against actions that are being taken by governing bodies to the assist residents through economic hardships brought on by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
The council’s resolution was forwarded to the MRRSA commissioners who, when they met the following day, voted to delay the increase by two months.
The MRRSA fee increase will specifically impact homeowners in Howell’s Freewood Acres neighborhood, where a sewer system is being installed. Residents of Freewood Acres, which is off Route 9 near Interstate 195, will be required to connect to the new infrastructure.
“There are 650 homes (in Freewood Acres), all of which at some point are going to have to hook up” to the sewer system, Township Attorney Joseph Clark said.
“Now it is going to be more costly … we are encouraging everybody in Freewood Acres to hook up now. We have a program in place … where there is assistance for hooking up to water and sewer and we urge everybody to look into that,” Clark said.
At some point in the near future, municipal officials will send out a letter to residents which will inform them they must connect to the sewer system.
“In other words, we are going to be telling everybody that within one year of their receipt of the letter … they must connect to the sewer. … So I would want to see as many people as possible connect ahead of that increase,” Clark said.