Sewer bills are in the mail — Increase necessary; Grace Period extended; Discounts for Seniors & Veterans provided
Grace period for Sewer bills extended to Friday, April 19th.
Discounts offered for Seniors and Veterans!
Unfortunately an increase in sewer fees has become necessary. This is the first increase since 2016 and only the second increase in over 20 years however.
Fortunately, the American Rescue Plan recently signed into law by President Biden may provide some relief. Mayor Tait received a call from our Congressman Donald Norcross late last week indicating that we’re eligible for up to $350,000 later this year and next for COVID-19 related expenses — including for potential losses in revenue. It’s possible that a reduction in sewer fees in the future may be possible as a result!
We’ll post the latest news here once more information becomes available.
Following are Mayor Gina Ragomo Tait’s comments mailed to all property owners:
March 8, 2021
Dear Residents, and Business and Property Owners;
First, I hope this letter finds you and your family as well as can be expected during these trying times. Too many of our residents have fallen ill with COVID-19, lost loved ones, or suffered in other ways, and it saddens my heart that Palmyra residents have had to endure these hardships.
While the Borough posts a lot of information about the pandemic on our website at www.boroughofpalmyra.com, including how to schedule an appointment online to receive a vaccine, many of our senior citizens don’t have access to a computer or the internet. For those residents I want you to also be aware that you can call 855-568-0545 to register for an appointment as well.
I’m also writing you today to let you know that the Borough unfortunately has had to increase our sewer fees for residential customers by $20 per half-year billing period. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many of our commercial and industrial users too, and given that these customers are billed according to their water usage, and business has dropped, sewer revenue has dropped too, significantly, which affects everyone.
In addition, operating a highly technical sewer plant in today’s day and age requires constant and significant engineering oversight, professional testing, maintenance and ongoing improvements, sludge disposal fees, state fees, increases in utility costs and other requirements, which are ever increasing year after year.
Fortunately, the Borough has not raised sewer fees since 2016. Before that we hadn’t raised our fee in over two decades! For 5 years now we’ve been able to keep our sewer bills flat by utilizing increasing amounts of surplus to hold the line – but it’s been near impossible not to raise fees over the last couple years, and in 2020 and 2021 especially. Given all that perhaps an additional $20 for six-months of service — $40 per year – may not seem like a lot of money to some, but we know it impacts everyone to some degree and we do not take this responsibility or this action lightly.
There is good news however, for our Seniors and Veterans! Seniors are eligible for up to two different sewer discount programs: $20 per year for those 65 years and over and residing in their primary residence; and $50 per year for those who are receiving a senior/disabled deduction per state statute. And Veterans who are receiving a Veterans deduction for his/her property are now eligible for a credit of $10 off their sewer bill!
There is also one more piece of good news for Veterans. On November 3, 2020, an amendment to the State Constitution was approved by ballot vote. This amendment provides that an honorably discharged Veteran residing in the State of New Jersey, or their surviving spouses, no longer need to serve during a specific war period or other emergency to receive the annual $250 property tax deduction.
Honorably discharged Veterans and their surviving spouses can access the application at the below link:
The link above can also be accessed from the Borough’s website at www.boroughofpalmyra.com, but if anyone needs assistance with any of these programs please feel free to call Borough Hall at (856) 829-6100 and our staff would be happy to help.
You should also feel free to call me as well at (856) 829-6100, extension 126.
Thank you very much and please be safe!
Gina Ragomo Tait
Mayor, Borough of Palmyra