Gloucester approves rise in water, sewer rates

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jun 20, 2012 - 02:00 PM

Gloucester residents will notice a slight increase in their water and sewer bills, starting next month. The Gloucester County Board of Supervisors adopted the new rates calling for a 5 percent increase in usage fees during its June 5 meeting in the colonial courthouse.

Gloucester’s director of public utilities Marty Schlesinger said the rate increases are based on recommendations from Raftelis Financial Consultants, the company contracted by Gloucester County last year to help formulate a plan to aid the financially strapped system.

According to Schlesinger, the county’s utilities system currently has three loans against it. One loan is expected to be paid off in 2018. "Once this occurs, our debt service will drop by over $1 million," Schlesinger said.

The idea is to continue to transfer money from the county’s general fund at a reducing rate each year, he added, to $0 by the time the loan is paid off in 2018.

In essence, users of the system will see the 5 percent increase in July, and may see other increases in the future.

"The department is in financial trouble and will be in trouble until 2019," Schlesinger said.