By a vote of 4-1, the Parsippany Township Council voted to pull a proposed ordinance that would have extended to apartment residents the sewer rebate going to homeowners and businesses. The move came at the council's Tuesday night regular meeting at Town Hall.
In late November, the body voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing a rate decrease for homeowners and businesses starting in the first quarter of 2013. Another resolution, mandating a one-time sewer rebate, was also passed by all members of the council.
Another proposed ordinance, up for second reading Tuesday, did not go forward. This plan would have ordered landlords to pass along the rebate to their tenants in the form of rent credits.
Before the matter could be opened for public comment, however, Councilman Michael dePierro made a motion to remove the proposal from consideration. He offered no explanation for the move and has not yet responded to Patch's question on the subject.
Without discussion, a vote was called. In short order, dePierro's motion was approved with one member voting no: Jonathan Nelson, the council's lone Democrat.
"I wanted to hear what the public had to say about it," Nelson told Patch, noting that many current tenants were not living in the apartments when sewer rates experienced substantial hikes in the mid 2000s. "I don't think the ordinance was the right ordinance, as written. But I also don't think the issue should have been pulled.
"It should have been tabled until a better ordinance had been written."
As things stand, the approximately 10 percent sewer rate reduction for businesses and homeowners, already approved, will take effect in the first quarter of 2013. For homeowners and landlords, rates will drop to a total of $51 per quarter. For commercial enterprises, the rate will drop 90 cents per thousand gallons, giving them a final rate of $5.14 per thousand gallons.
The town's one-time $1.5 million sewer giveback is being distributed to homeowners, landlords and businesses starting in the second half of December. Each will receive just under $50 per unit for single-family homes and garden apartments and $1.14 per 1,000 gallons for businesses.
Mayor James Barberio announced last month that this effort was being instituted to make good on his long-ago promise to bring down the rates paid into the sewer fund once the new sewer treatment plant was fully refurbished and functional. That facility opened its doors officially last June.
According to the mayor, the plant is cutting Parsippany's energy costs by about 60 percent.