TRENTON - Consistent with their longstanding record of protecting ratepayers, the 9th District legislative delegation intends to vote against legislation to permit municipalities and counties to finance the creation, operation, and maintenance of stormwater utilities through the imposition of user fees and the issuance of bonds.
Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are resolutely opposed to the companion legislation, S-1073 and A-2694, and in an effort to bring constituents up to speed issued the following statement:
“Ratepayers are looking for relief, not another government bureaucracy that will charge them more fees and cost them more money they don’t have or need to pay other taxes.
If the need is so pressing, why doesn’t the state utilize existing resources? While the bill may be permissive, there is always more to the story when it concerns the Trenton bureaucracy and raising revenue for the state.
“True to form, Trenton would get a kickback as the bill requires a five percent kickback of the annual fees collected by new government utilities be sent back to the state. Trenton has made a science out of using dedicated fees for other-than-intended purposes.
“Does anyone actually believe that five percent would be used by Trenton for stormwater management or, instead, would ratepayers be funding some political pet project?
“Conveniently, the bill places the burden squarely on counties and municipalities to establish and operate the new utilities. Ratepayer protections would be further eroded in that costs associated with a project would be exempted from the two percent cap on amounts billed to customers.
“These provisions would completely contradict and undermine the very intent of the state tax levy cap on counties and municipalities as a means of controlling the cost of government. No consideration is being given to the potential increased costs for ratepayers or, more broadly, the prospect of giving residents just one more reason to move out of the state.
“As this is a losing proposition for our constituents, each member of our delegation will be voting NO if and when this bill is posted for a full chamber vote.”