November 18, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 11 Area Ridgewood Water, the utility that serves Glen Rock, Midland Park, and Wyckoff in addition to the Village of Ridgewood, will be raising its basic rate in 2010 to $4 per thousand gallons. This represents a 21 percent increase. The previous rate increase was in 2004, according to Frank Moritz, the utility’s director of operations, who spoke a meeting of the Midland Park mayor and council earlier this month. Since then, he said, labor rates have increased by 24 percent and gas and electric rates by 35 percent. Chlorine costs have gone up 40 percent over the last five years. He said the operating budget is projected to increase by $400,000. “We build our surplus and then go into the surplus to support the budget when we don’t have the revenue,” Moritz said. “But we no longer can count on the revenue to fund our operating budget.” In addition to the 21 percent initial increase for 2010, the utility is proposing a 3 percent increase each year beginning with 2011. Moritz said this will help avoid the need for large increases all at once going forward. Moritz said that the $4 per 1,000 gallons proposed rate is in line with other water utilities in the area: $4.40 for United Water, $4.50 in Fairlawn, $4.25 in Waldwick, $3.80 to $8.05 in Allendale, $3.94 in Mahwah, $3.80 in Ramsey and $3.75 in Ho-Ho-Kus. The average residential consumption is about 25,000 gallons a quarter, he said. In order to promote water conservation, Ridgewood Water is also proposing a summer rate surcharge for all usage in excess of 35,000 gallons per quarter. The surcharge would be: 20 cents per 1,000 gallons of consumption from 35,000 to 50,000 gallons; 45 cents per 1,000 gallons from 50,000 to 75,000 gallons, and 75 cents per 1,000 gallons for usage over 75,000 gallons. These summer rates are expected to help curtail the tendency to use irrigation systems when unnecessary, Moritz said. He added, however, Ridgewood Water to increase rates after six years that the intent is not to hurt large commercial users, such as the Valley Hospital, so more discussion needs to take place to see how to treat these users. Reduced water usage, however, contributes to the utility’s woes, in what Moritz called “a catch 22 business.” System-wide water consumption in thousands of gallons in 2007 was 2,653,761. In 2008 it was 2,535,734, with the projected total for 2009 down to 2,228,357 due to the cool, wet summer. Moritz said that capital improvements and other updates necessary to meet increasingly stringent water quality state standards and maintain the integrity of the water system have also contributed to the budget pinch. The Valley View Tank in Ridgewood is under construction to replace existing tanks dating back over 100 years, and the interconnection with United Water was completed to assure the system will continue to meet future demands. Stripping updates were installed at treatment facilities to remove volatile organic contaminants. Water meters continue to be switched from telephone based to radio based, and a SCADA system nearing completion will allow operators to control the entire system from one location. Regular repairs and maintenance are ongoing. Ridgewood Water has 55 buildings, which contain wells, treatment facilities and transfer facilities, and 12 storage tanks throughout the four communities it serves. Midland Park The Midland Park Annual Tree Lighting Celebration’s sponsors have again extended their generosity to provide a heated tent and volunteer services that make this community gathering a wonderful way to welcome the holiday season. This year’s event will be held on Friday, Dec. 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Veterans’ Memorial Plaza in Midland Park’s Wortendyke Section. (Rain date is Monday, Dec. 7; rain date hotline is (201) 652-2747.) The Midland Park Recreation Department’s student volunteers, who work behind the scenes before, during, and after events, are ready to entertain attendees. A special thanks to volunteers Mike Sasso of New Air Mechanical and Jeff Fino for the beautiful job decorating the Tree lighting celebration returns tree at Veteran’s Plaza! The Highland School Band is ready to go, DJ John, From The Top Music Studio and the cast from “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” -- sponsored by New Life Ministries will also be returning. Jacobsen Landscape Design team and their elves are getting the famous “Santa Shuttle” ready, and the Midland Park Girl Scout elves and Volunteer Fire Department are busy tracking down Santa! Meals for Kids and Midland Park Starbucks are busy preparing hot chocolate and TD North’s elves are ready to man the hot chocolate table and hand out free giveaways. Midland Park students who volunteer to teach the Recreation Winter Theater Arts program, Olivia Fairless, Kaitlin Desbiens, Bailey Kasbarian, Megan Ranges, and April and Allison Gormley will show off their vocal talents. 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