Past Newsletters

PSEG Bill, Car Theft, Parking Tech and School Bond

Hey everyone, here’s a few important updates:

Your Electric Bill

The Sustainable Essex (County) Alliance Energy Procurement Cooperative (SEAEPC) program with Energy Harbor expired in September. As you are most likely well aware, there have been significant changes in energy market prices since the last time the Township went out to bid in November, 2020.  Energy prices have increased considerably, which has made it much more difficult to obtain favorable bid pricing as compared to the PSE&G tariff, then it was two years ago when the Township signed this contract with Energy Harbor. 

Starting with your October PSE&G bill, you will notice that Energy Harbor power supply charges will be replaced with a line item for PSE&G ‘Basic Generation Service’ power supply.  For those of you who have had a budget billing (equal payment) plan with Energy Harbor, your October 2022 PSE&G bill will include a final true-up of your budget payments with Energy Harbor.  This true-up will be a credit if your total budget payments have been greater than the charges for actual electricity consumed during the past 17 months.  Alternatively, this true-up will be a charge if your budget payments have totaled to less than actual charges for electricity consumed during the past 17 months. Either way, budget billing customers who have participated in the SEA program with Energy Harbor will end up paying for exactly what they used over the contract term, no more and no less.

The SEAEPC will be monitoring market conditions for improved opportunities to award a contract, in consultation with its energy consultant, Gabel Associates, Inc., and expects to go back out to bid within the next 12 months. I will update you in a future newsletter. Those concerned about sourcing energy from renewable sources should know that PSE&G is mandated by law to provide a certain percentage of its supply from renewable sources and increase that each year. Currently that is 25% renewable content. By 2023, 38% of its supply will be from renewable content, increasing to 53% by 2027.

Vehicle Theft & Burglary Prevention Tips

At the present time, the Township is in what our Montclair Police Dept. (MPD) has told me is a cycle of theft that is fueled by a number of factors. This is a perpetual problem that has plagued not only Montclair but all cities and counties throughout the State.  The cycle comes and goes and we don’t often focus a lot of attention on it. But some residents have recently asked me to send out some tips.
There is much the public can do to protect themselves and our police.  First and foremost, we should know our neighbors and call 911 when you see something suspicious. Never hesitate. We can and must be security conscious at home as we come and go as well. We should be aware of our surroundings as we approach our street and our home or building. Staying alert and looking up will help you notice if something is off or out of place. Most importantly we should never leave our doors and windows unlocked when we’re not home. And we should never leave our keys and key fobs in our vehicles. More than 90% of vehicles stolen or burglarized have the keys/ fob in the vehicle and/ or the vehicles or homes are unlocked.  We cant make it easy for the criminals. They do talk and if word gets out that a particular neighborhood has easy pickings, you can be sure, they will be back. So please take these precautions going forward.

New Flowbird Parking Kiosks Being Installed

If you remember “metergate”, you’ll remember that one of the decisions we made after the meters failed, was to buy and install these news kiosks (pictured above). You should already be seeing them in some municipal lots, with more on their way soon. We looked for a good deal with current tech that could meet our needs of a citizenry that still uses a lot of coins for parking.

These new kiosks accept coins and cards and are also tied into an app by the company Flowbird. I’ve received some complaints about needing two apps. You don’t need two apps. ParkMobile still works for the lots where these machines are located simply by using their app and selecting the respective code. But if you wanted to, or you already have it – you can use the Flowbird App to pay for parking in those lots too. The point of getting these machines was for the analog uses, plus other tech capabilities (including being solar). 

Rebuild Montclair Schools

Last week at my Town Hall, I took residents through some stark before and after photos of our schools and what the vital work to be done, would mean for them. I also reviewed the financials at a high level. You can watch the replay here. My portion on the bond is within the first 25 minutes.

I think it’s really important that when you see this $187M number that you remember two things: If we pass this, the state is going to chip in $58M. That’s a big deal and what a tragedy if we don’t take the money. The borrowing is phased over several years — we would not be borrowing $187M all at once. Therefore the impact on taxes will be gradual. One thing is for sure though: if we don’t do this now, the impact on taxes will be far worse in the future. This is a bitter pill for many of us, including couples like me and Ben, who don’t have kids in the schools and never will. But it’s about our town and caring about everyone’s kids and caring about the allure of Montclair and our home values too. Take the time to educate yourself on the issue here. You can request a lawn sign here.

Senior Tax Freeze

I strongly encourage any seniors who are on fixed incomes and concerned about possible tax increases to take the time to understand the State’s property tax relief program for seniors. You can read more about that here.

Did you see my Town Hall last week? I covered a lot. And I went there… being brutally honest about some of this town’s issues. There’s a famous line from Jack Nicholson’s character the Joker in 1989’ss Batman movie. “This town needs an…..”

Check out Peter’s Town Hall