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Plainfield Authority To Adjust Sewer, Solid Waste Rates

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PMUA Commissioners, left to right: Pat Van Slyke, Robin Bright, Miguel Edghill, Henry Robinson, Michelle Graham-Lyons, Marleen Powell. (Absent: Pedro Estevez) Credits: Bernice Paglia
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PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority will hold a public hearing Tuesday on proposed rate changes.

As explained in a legal notice, “The Authority shall provide evidence at the hearing showing that the proposed adjustments of the Solid Waste Rates, Transfer Station Charges, and Sanitary Sewer Connection Fee are necessary and reasonable and shall provide the opportunity for cross-examination of persons offering such evidence.“

The hearing is 6 p.m. March 13 at the PMUA office, 127 Roosevelt Ave.  See the rate changes herepdf.

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Rates have not changed for several years, but a PMUA spokesperson declined last week to say exactly how many, or to confirm whether PMUA is mandated to use a Union County facility for disposal.  

In 2009, rate hikes of 20 percent for solid waste and 14 percent for sewers led to a ratepayers’ revolt and the launch of a website encouraging ratepayers to “opt out” of PMUA trash collection. See Plainfield Plaintalker post here.  More recently, the authority has relied on other economies to keep rates stable.

Not all the proposed rate changes are increases. A close look shows drops in some PMUA collection rates, with increases for disposal.  According to a Union County Utilities Authority notice, all solid waste generated in the county must be delivered to the Union County Resource Recovery Facility in Rahway at a rate of $107 per ton as of Jan. 1, 2018.

The combined collection and disposal rates for Shared Services show an increase of just $3.90 per quarter, though the concept itself has been controversial. Even if property owners opt out of PMUA trash pickups, all must pay for Shared Services as described on the PMUA website: 

"​The shared services program supports downtown street sweeping and public can service in addition to trash collection from municipal buildings, public areas, parks and community sites.

Collection of bulky waste is also a program under Shared Services which entitles each property location in Plainfield to two bulk waste pick-ups per calendar year."​

Regarding sewer charges, Plainfield wastewater passes through both the Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority system and Middlesex County Utilities Authority facilities, meaning rate increases at either entity can affect city rates.

For anyone who cannot attend Tuesday’s hearing, the notice says “A transcript of the hearing shall be made and a copy thereof shall be available upon request to any interested party upon payment of a reasonable fee.”

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