The Supreme Court has ruled on the issue of which entity, the collection system or the treatment facility, is authorized to charge sewage connections fees. In 612 Associates, L.L.C. v. North Bergen Municipal Utilities Authority (A-13-11) (067931), the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that each authority that serves a property, whether through a direct or an indirect connection, is permitted to charge a connection fee representing a fair payment toward the cost of the system. A fair payment is one that reflects the use of each system and is not duplicative.
The Supreme Court held, in pertinent part, that, each connection fee must be tied to the cost of that part of the system that the particular connector uses, so that a property that merely has sewage transported for a distance through the piping system of one authority will be assessed based on the costs of that entity’s collection system, but will not be charged for the costs of that entity’s treatment system that it does not use. By the same token, the same property may be charged a connection fee by the authority that actually treats the sewage which reflects a portion of that entity’s capital costs for its piping system and its treatment facility, consistent with the property’s use. Finally, an authority that operates only a collection system and the authority that operates the treatment facility will each be permitted to assess their connection fee to defray capital costs as the statutes intended. [Slip Opinion at 28.]
Should you need a copy of the Supreme Court decision, please feel free to contact us.
Diane Alexander, Esq.
Maraziti, Falcon & Healey, LLP
150 John F. Kennedy Parkway
Short Hills, New Jersey 07078
(973) 912-6811 (direct dial)
(973) 912-9007 (fax)