Thank you for a more even tone regarding the obvious budget failures of the administration. Even if you and I had the budget last July (as the mayor promised) then we could have stopped the mayor from spending money that he never had. Personally I look at the Department of Community Affairs and their part in all of this. One of their responsibilities is to ensure that municipalities operate lawfully within a budget. This is now two years in a row that the DCA has allowed Palmer’s administration to rack up millions in OT and bad budgeting only to leave it at our feet.
As to the “Strategic” value of TWW, it has routinely made $3 million plus until the administration forund “religion” with a state law limiting proceeds to the city’s budget to about $2.5 million, which they have successfully argued in the past does not apply when rates are equalized. Regardless, the 5% limit is arbitrary and can easily be doubled or tripled via an executive order or state legislation. Since no tax money would back it and it would save the state and Trenton millions, it would be fairly easy. This year the extra revenue without the sale would be at least $7 million, not counting many millions from the suburbs’ civic (fire hydrants and state building) use. Some estimates put the total value at around $14 million.
Furthermore, we are talking about the public service of providing cheap and clean water to the public. Going private would set rates at about double the rates everyone was paying before this sale. And believe me, the unstable ground that the utility would be left on could cause a collapse and forced sale of the system (following astronomical rate increases) in only a few years. Then who is on the hook for the roughly $100 million in debt left behind?
Believe me, the sale will cost us more than $8 million a year. We will lose the $3 million in revenue plus Trenton residents and businesses would make up the $5 million in extra rates just to break even. And that takes Dennis Gonzalez and his mysterious millions in efficiency savings that he has yet to detail on his word. Then factor in the Trenton Water Works engineers (4 or 5) that will be added to our city’s payroll and the costs of repairs for separation on the city’s side (I think that street paving equipment will be tied up for a while) plus other costs administratively of pushing the permits, street closings, etc. through.
How can you trust a deal when the city has not provided anyone with a simple cost analysis or a 5 year comparison plan? Believe me, this deal should be shot down and the administration that continues to run its departments at many times the rates of our neighbors should be run out of office.
The above appeared as a response to an article on http://www.reinventtrenton.com.