Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cape May County, New Jersey: Commissioners approve resolution establishing escrow account for tenants at airport

VILLAS — Lower Township Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) recently had 900 customers subject to a tax sale lien for non-payment.

At a Wed., March 7 MUA Board of Commissioner’s meeting, Office Supervisor Emily Oberkofler said the tax sale was for those who were delinquent as of the end of 2011. The liens go to a tax sale conducted by Lower Township, according Board Chairman Nels Johnson.

Oberkofler said the final payment date for customers to avoid a tax sale is March 16. She said the initial 900 customers eligible for tax sale has been “significantly reduced” in conjunction with termination of services.  The high number of customers eligible for tax sale is an annual event, said Oberkofler.

She said customers are sent a “reminder notice after each quarter becomes due.” Procedures for termination were previously enacted only once per year.

Now, after two quarters are delinquent, a work order for termination is generated, which Oberkofler said brings in a lot of revenue. She said it includes customers that have not paid connection fees.

For customers who are set up to make an annual installment payment but fail to do so, they owe the entire balance subject to 18 percent interest and, said Oberkofler.

Commissioners approved a resolution establishing an escrow account for tenants at the county airport. Board Chairman Nels Johnson said renters at the airport are required to for one year of water/sewer service in advance.

He said year ago, tenants “ran out” of the airport leaving behind thousands of dollars owed to the MUA.

Board Solicitor Jeff Barnes said getting a mechanism in place to give MUA some sort of security for payment has been in negotiation for five to seven years. He said collecting money from tenants that have left the airport is complicated due to the county owning the airport and Delaware Bay and River Authority leasing the property.

Barnes said MUA could not lien a property at the airport to collect unpaid utility bills.

When a tenant fills out an application for a water connection, they will be required to make a payment.

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