COUNCIL PLANS WATER/SEWER RATE BOOST

toiletIt’ll cost more per flush if the proposed increase passes.

Seven months after Red Bank officials siphoned off $270,000 from the borough-owned water utility to keep a lid on municipal taxes, they’re planning to jack up water and sewer rates by 10 percent.

An ordinance changing the rate, which was quietly introduced at the last borough council meeting, is up for public hearing and possible adoption Monday night.

The increase follows a 10-percent increase in 2008 that was said to be necessary to offset the costs of infrastructure repairs. The pending boost was proposed by the council’s finance committee, says Mayor Pasquale Menna. The committee is headed by Councilman Mike DuPont, who was not immediately available for comment this morning.

What’s the rationale?

“To balance the budget and also keep the utility operating soundly,” says Menna.

To balance the utility budget, or the municipal budget, redbankgreen asked him.

“Both,” he said.

Referring to a difficult fiscal environment made more challenging with Gov. Chris Christie’s cuts in local aid and the elimination of rebates to seniors, “which is, in effect, a tax increase,” Menna said, “I don’t know how our budget is going to shape up.

“We tried to do a move on difficult, employee-related adjustments, and you saw what happened,” he said. “The council backed off. Now, there will have to be some dramatic cuts, and perhaps furloughs and layoffs.”

Here’s the proposed ordinance: 2010-12ordinance