Burlington County Freeholders passed a resolution Wednesday  opposing a 20 percent rate hike planned by New Jersey American Water Company.
"This increase is coming out a time when homeowners and businesses are struggling financially,” said Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio.  Twenty-three Burlco municipalities are served by the water company.

Garganio said the water company's parent company recently reported third quarter earnings of $137.4 million, a more than 7 percent increase for a comparable period in 2010. 

Last year, New Jersey American raised rates 6.8 percent.

Calls for comment were placed with New Jersey American.  The next step in the approval process is to go before the state Board of Public Utilities.