Water sale logic (or lack thereof)

Statements from city officials regarding the condition of the suburban Trenton Water Works system don’t make sense in light of the absurd amounts of time and money New Jersey American Water Co. and the City of Trenton are spending in pursuit of the sale.

The constant refrain heard from Mayor Douglas “Hunterdon” Palmer and his administration officials is that the outer system, or OWUS, is a costly, maintenance-heavy operation that Trenton can no longer afford to maintain.

They say the system – which happens to be decades newer than the mess of pipes under the ground in Trenton – is falling apart and would best be sold to a profit-driven company that could better maintain the system.

Yet we know from the last year of discrouse that this is not the case.

As mentioned earlier, the OWUS is newer than the Trenton system, and provides water to 60 percent of the utility’s ratepayers.

Plus, if it’s in such bad shape, why is a profit-driven company that has to pay taxes and shareholders willing to spend so much to buy it?

There are some other thoughts people need to consider when deciding on how to vote in the June referendum:

While Trenton shrinks, the suburbs grow, meaning staying in a position as the sole provider of water service is quite lucrative, which New Jersey American Water Co. apparently recognizes.

Think, Trenton is always crying about disinvestment and depopulation, mainly to the benefit of the surrounding municipalities.

The OWUS is a way to tap into this suburban movement, creating city revenue to offset what’s lost as people inevitably flee Trenton’s current conditions for Lawrence, Ewing, or Hamilton.

Yet what does Trenton’s current leadership want to do?

Sell it off, naturally.


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