The Borough of Netcong has created a municipal utility to serve as the payment mechanism for garbage collection. The Township of Mount Olive will continue to provide this service according to the existing schedule; there will be no interruption to garbage collection. There will, however, be a new payment system starting in 2024.
Netcong’s garbage collection contract with Gaeta Recycling expired on December 31, 2022. When the Borough went out to bid, the lowest and only received bid was from Gaeta Recycling, but it was a 79% increase from the previous contract. Regrettably, this increase is consistent with what other municipalities in New Jersey are experiencing. Because of this increase, the Borough sought out a shared service agreement with the Township of Mount Olive which resulted in an increase from the previous contract but only by 42%, and it secured an extra three years of service.
Regardless, this 42 percent cost increase in garbage collection, when combined with a 22 percent state-mandated cost increase in healthcare premiums and a 19 percent state-mandated cost increase in pension costs, pushed the Borough far outside the 2 percent property tax cap and the 2.5 percent appropriations cap. These caps are state laws that prevent municipalities from raising taxes by more than 2 percent or raising expenses by more than 2.5 percent except in specific, emergency circumstances.
Since Netcong could not mathematically absorb these cost increases in the municipal budget, the mayor and Council – in consultation with our third-party auditor – established a municipal utility, which will serve as the payment collection mechanism for garbage collection. This means that the cost of garbage collection will be removed from the municipal budget and collected directly from residents through a separate annual bill. This system is used in many municipalities, including Chester Borough and Chester Township.
What This Means for Residents
Netcong residents will receive a quarterly bill in the mail in the approximate amount of $75 to pay for garbage collection. We expect to have the final calculation and exact cost very soon. This bill is mandatory, no matter the way in which residents previously or currently handle their garbage disposal.
PLEASE NOTE: all residents currently pay for garbage collection through their property taxes. The ubiquitous garbage stickers that residents buy throughout the year cover only a small portion of the cost of garbage collection.
Please expect to receive your garbage utility bills in January, April, July, and October. The payment deadlines will be in January, April, July, and October with a grace period of 10 days.
The schedule for garbage collection will not change. Garbage will continue to be picked up on Fridays. Two bulky items per week will continue to be picked up on Fridays with the purchase of a sticker, and Metal Bulk Items will still be collected on the third Friday of the month, again with the purchase of a sticker. Recycling will continue to be picked up on Tuesdays.
Thank You for Your Understanding
For better or worse, the financial challenges associated with garbage collection are not unique to the Borough of Netcong. Some municipalities are eliminating garbage collection entirely; others are creating utilities as the one described here. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as Netcong Borough navigates this serious financial challenge.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Netcong Borough Administration at (973) 347-0252 should you have any questions.