KENILWORTH, NJ - Please see the following statement from Councilman Daniel Lopez.

The NJ American Water Company wants a rate increase. The increase of 11.55% for our users is substantial. The request is currently before the State Board of Public Utilities. I am informed that the process which will include public hearings and will take at least nine months.

As finance chairman on the Borough Council, I am limited to no more than 2% increase in our budget. Upgrading of service lines, and values to enhance overall service quality is always positive. It's the duty of the water companies. It's still hard to fathom how an almost 12% increase can be justified. I am also disappointed that none of the six public hearings will take place in Union County. I will be monitoring the proposal as it is considered by the State Board and keep the community informed.