Hopewell Township officially became the first township to roll over on the Trenton Water Works deal Monday, when the Hopewell Township Committee’s membership approved the final version of the deal.
The deal, which delivers 40,000 customers and miles of pipeline and infrastructure to New Jersey American Water Co. for $80 million, is a real stinker for Trenton.
It represents the sale of portions of one of the city’s remaining assets for money that will evaporate in two of three years, leaving Trenton with the same massive budget deficits and less ability to plug the gaps.
Many residents in both Trenton and the townships have come out against this deal, which still needs to be consecrated by the approval of an ordinance by Trenton City Council at some point in the next week or two.
That event provides an opportunity to renew a call that was made earlier to city residents and those from the townships who also oppose the deal – get out your petitions and your walking boots.
Thanks to the City of Trenton’s asinine court fight against a citizen’s petition protest years ago, the state’s highest courts have ruled that nearly any ordinance is subject to challenge by citizen petition, except for some planning and zoning ordinances.
Given Trenton’s dismal voter turnout, it appears that as little as 1100 signatures from registered voters in Trenton could stop this deal in its very tracks and put it to a vote by city residents, where it would surely fail.
Getting signatures is certainly not easy, but a dedicated group of as little as 30 or 40 people willing to canvass the city’s streets could get that many signatures in a weekend’s time. That’s good, because such an effort would have to conclude within three weeks of the ordinance’s approval.
Just a little food for though for those who don’t like this deal.