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3/22/2018 - Mayor Addresses Trenton Water Works and Energy Receipts at State Hearing

Mayor Addresses Trenton Water Works and Energy Receipts at State Hearing

At a State Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee hearing chaired by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede testified before State leaders on two important issues affecting her town – Trenton Water Works and the return of Hamilton taxpayer’s energy receipts.

While providing feedback on recently introduced bills, Mayor Yaede offered suggestions to the committee on ways to improve the legislation, such as removing the unnecessary requirement for consumers to get municipal action in order to demand reimbursements from utilities such as Trenton Water Works, as well as ensuring the additional municipal officials receive notification from a utility during boil water notices and other violations to ensure that residents are alerted as quickly as possible.

“When Trenton Water Works was most recently required to notify some of our residents to boil their drinking water, the reality was that we, in Hamilton, notified our residents before the City notified its own residents.  What is particularly troubling is that even if Trenton Water Works made a timely notification, they are unable to contact their Hamilton customers – which is why our community must act during these critical times.  That is why I urged additional county and municipal officials be included in required notifications, to ensure that residents receive notification as quickly as possible,” says Yaede. 

“Additionally, I informed the committee of by efforts to discuss these issues with Environmental Protect Agency officials, as well as working with Congressman Smith on a federal notification requirement to ensure the immediate notification of residents.”

The second issue Yaede raised was urging action to resident Energy Receipts and Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Receipts Aid (CMPTRA) funds to taxpayers by directly offsetting property taxes (through municipal budgets).  According to data from the New Jersey League of Municipalities,   “…funding for Energy Tax and CMPTRA property tax relief are $320 million lower than they were before the Recession of 2008.”  These funds derive from revenues that towns used to collect to offset property taxes, before the State took over collecting and distributing the funds.   

“Even though it was not on their agenda, I used my opportunity at the Utilities Committee hearing to directly ask State officials – eye to eye -- to take action to return taxpayers’ Energy Receipts and CMPTRA funds.  These funds can directly lower taxpayer’s property taxes; yet all too often, the funds have been an easy way for State Government to fund additional State spending,” says Yaede.  “I would love to see these funds returned to directly offset property taxes and lower our residents’ property tax bills.  If it were done now, I could reduce our projected local tax increase by offsetting the rising cost that our community is unable to avoid – like rising insurance and garbage collection costs.  And if Hamilton simply saw the return of Energy Receipts and CMPTRA to levels of just a few years ago, we might have been able to keep taxes stable again this year.  But this will require the courage of State leaders to act on this important issue.”

Yaede thanked the committee for its work on trying to improve ways to protect our residents when it comes to their drinking water and expresses hope that the restoration of Hamilton’s Energy Receipts can remain a bipartisan issue.

“As long as I have been Mayor, the goal of returning our residents’ Energy Receipts has remained an issue that all of our local officials have agreed upon, and worked on together.  I hope that continues to remain the case, because lowering taxes helps all of our residents, regardless of political affiliation or who they vote for.  And as public servants, we should be working together to benefit all of our residents.”