Water fight headed to state’s highest court

The New Jersey Supreme Court will decide the fate of the Trenton Water Works deal some time in the coming months, following the high court’s decision to hear the case, announced Thursday.

The announcement sets up a face-off between the City of Trenton, allied with buyer New Jersey American Water Co., and Trenton’s citizens, all in front of the same court that decided but three years ago that any and all ordinances are subject to protest, the dispute at the very heart of this matter.

The city proposes to sell off the portions of the system lying in Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell, and Lawrence for a one-time cash payment of $80 million in a short-sighted attempt to offset the city’s recurring structural deficits.

Citizens, who were ultimately sued and fought a see-saw battle through the lower courts, initially circulated petitions to suspend the sale ordinance and send it to the voters.

The sale mirrors smaller deals made by the outgoing Palmer administration, such as selling off the city’s lucrative interests in downtown parking garages and an energy-generation station off Market Street for one-time cash payments.

The Supreme Court battle was guaranteed after Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signed the order certifying the petition for judgment of the case earlier today.

The document was released to interested parties.


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