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Ridgewood Hikes Water Rate Again, Neighboring Mayors Call Move Unjustifiable

Ratepayers will now pay $4.42 per 1,000 gallons, up nine cents over the current rate

Residents in Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Wyckoff and Midland Park will be paying more money for their water following the Ridgewood Village Council's unanimous decision to hike rates an additional 2 percent — their second hike for 2012. 

Residents will now pay $4.42 per 1,000 gallons, up nine cents over the current rate. Village Manager Ken Gabbert said the hikes should become effective in a few weeks, once billing catches up. Despite the hikes — now up 5 percent for the year and 31 percent since 2009 — and a pending lawsuit, village officials maintain that ratepayers are still getting a good deal.

Gabbert provided a document detailing the rates of water utilities in the surrounding area. The document shows Ridgewood rates being among the lowest in North Jersey. 

What impact this will have on a lawsuit that charges Ridgewood illegally used revenue from neighboring towns in the Ridgewood Water umbrella to fund its own operating expenses, remains unclear as of Thursday.

Wyckoff Mayor Chris DePhillips called the latest increase "unjustifiable," but declined further comment. 

Glen Rock Mayor John van Keuren said he backed DePhillips's sentiment. 

"We think we understand the income and revenue situation and just can't see with all the over-allocations on expense that they can justify another rate increase," van Keuren said Thursday.

Wyckoff, Glen Rock, and Midland Park and are seeking $3.3 million from the village. The plaintiff's attorney, former Wyckoff Mayor Joseph Fiorenzo, has said Ridgewood funneled millions to stave off cuts they otherwise would have had to make.

Asked of the potential impact to the pending lawsuit, Gabbert said the decision is up to the plaintiffs.

"They could amend their lawsuit and also say we have no right to make this increase," Gabbert said. It's when the Ridgewood council — which functions as the utility's board of directors — signed off on a 5 percent rate hike in late 2010. 

Ridgewood Attorney Matt Rogers has and Gabbert remains confident Ridgewood is in good legal standing.

"It's unfortunate the amount of money that's being wasted by the residents of Midland Park, Wyckoff and Glen Rock," he said. "Because we're on solid ground." 

He estimated the village's legal fees thus far to total about $50,000.

Fiorenzo was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Paul June 16, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Hey Rodgers, & Gabbert, Your fold is starting to Revolt! What ya going to do when the smackdown comes down on you! Run to a nowhere town??? We gave you guys a Great Raises!!!! and all you are now giving Us is an incresse in our TAX BILL!! I say enough is enough!! Time to have a TOWN COUNCIL MOB! Lets start a new. We can do much better than this.
John A. Unglert June 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Possibly "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" ? BTW, WHEN has RW inccreased storage capacity in the last, say 5 years, let alone the rate rasing years ? If they had to capacity we would not get stuck with this Odd/Even/NOT on Mondays business. I also love the way we are now getting black particulate matter falling out of the water. Guess that is from unclean pipes or using other services ? BUT I have kept the water filtration guys in business since that started. BUT RW has a lower rate than the other guys, SO, we MUST rasie the rates to match them.
Leaving June 17, 2012 at 02:16 AM
That's a good idea, especially since most of the wells are located in Wyckoff. Then Ridgewood Water would have an over-priced, shabbily run water company with very little water. Sounds like a plan!
Mike Kilhaney June 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" and "Something smells in Denmark !" are the same as "A rose is a rose, and called by any other name is still a rose". Where & how does Hawthorne (our great neighbor also) get their well water ? How do their rates compare for softer/better water ? Stay on track--- as the answer may provide the potential solution for Glen Rock, Wyckoff, Midland Park. I believe the towns supplied by Ridgewood Water (Glen Rock for sure) sit atop a vast water resourvoir called "Lake Passaic". Those resources are available to any individual or town that wishes access them as far as I know. Is Hawthorne (vs Ridgewood) an option as a potential partner for lower, better quality water ? Ridgewood Water has a "monopoly" on GR,MP & Wyckoff water supply & thus have become a very lazy & arrogent organization. We need to fully support the lawsuit, AND develope options to break the obvious "monopoly" that would be illegal in the Corporate sectors ?
John A. Unglert June 19, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I have been considering having a well drilled. Just going through the costs and what permits would be required. Maybe we can get a quantity discount is enough banded together.

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