Following ‘water tax’ debacle, Jersey City rolls out new solid waste fee plan

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Following the “water tax” debacle where Jersey City residents paid waste disposal fees in part based on their water usage, Jersey City is rolling out a new solid waste fee plan.

Photo via regional-industries.com.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The new solid waste removal fees structure with a flat rate of $12.50 a month per unit, including tax abated properties, and will no longer be tied to water usage rates, the mayor’s office announced.

“We always take residents’ concerns very seriously, and this is a positive outcome for residents. In this instance, residents felt they were overcharged for their waste collection after the MUA acquired the services, and so we immediately demanded they stop the fees until we could ensure accuracy and fairness for all residents citywide,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.

“Our eyes are wide open to the fact that residents are dealing with financial burdens surrounding the pandemic, which is why we also worked to reduce property taxes by an average of $1,000 to help offset the waste collection fee.”

The city historically used an outside vendor for waste disposal services until January 2021, when the municipal utilities authority officially accepted the assignment of the solid waste contract.

The idea was to create a more equitable solution to waste collection expenses since tax abated buildings were previously exempt and did not pay the added costs for solid waste collection that residents of non-tax abated buildings have been paying for years.

At the end of July, Fulop called on the MUA and Suez Water to halt the fees after a public outcry against the measure.

Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro led a call for the refund and repeal of the tax the following month.

The city council then approved a a non-binding resolution asking the MUA to do the same.

“I am glad a citywide, community coalition fought the unfair water tax. The coalition saved working class homeowners hundreds in excess fees,” Solomon told HCV this afternoon.

“On the surface, this new proposal is a significant improvement over the original water tax; however it should now be subjected to a transparent and tough analysis prior to implementation.”

The revised fee will be reflected in the quarterly SUEZ Water bills at the start of the New Year. Those who previously paid in excess of the new flat rate for 2021 will be receiving a credit.

All solid waste collection services and pickup frequency will remain unchanged.

SUEZ will maintain the current garbage collection schedule with three weekly pickups for trash and recycling.

For all questions regarding billing, please contact SUEZ Customer Service at 1-800-575-4433.

 

Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon.