(TRENTON) – Local governing units and authorities will now be allowed to waive interest and lien enforcement for certain delinquent water and sewer utility payments during emergency circumstances under legislation signed into law Friday by Governor Phil Murphy. The measure passed the full Assembly in May by a vote of 80-0, and the full Senate in June, 40-0.
During a public health emergency or state of emergency declared by the Governor, the new law (formerly bill A-4126) allows sewage authorities, county or municipal utility authorities, or counties or municipalities responsible for the administration of a sewage or water utility to refrain from charging interest on a delinquent payment, placing a lien on a property for the unpaid balance of a sewer charge and accruing interest, or discontinuing service for failure to pay an owed amount.
The law’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Joseph Egan (D-Middlesex, Somerset) and Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) released the following joint statement:
“Countless New Jersey residents are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Many are struggling to make ends meet, and may fall behind on their bills.
“In these difficult times, municipal and utility authorities will have the option to choose to forgive these discrepancies. It’s a reasonable and compassionate thing to do.”