Yaede: Trenton Water Should Be Plugging Water Leaks, Not City of Trenton Budget Holes
A new water efficiency report released which shows Trenton Water losing 28 percent of the treated water it pumps – higher than all other local water utilities – is the culmination of years of using money from residents’ water bills to plug its city budget, rather than repairing its aging water system says one Mercer County Mayor.
In her February State of the Township Address, Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede targeted the longstanding practice of Trenton Water surplus to subsidize the City of Trenton’s budget. Rather, Yaede believes that money should have long been used to replace water lines and important Trenton Water system infrastructure that serves. This surplus is generated in part from Hamiltonians’ water bills.
“For years, surplus from water bills paid for by Hamilton residents, as well as other residents from suburban towns, serviced by Trenton Water has gone to plug the City of Trenton budget, instead of plugging water leaks. Not only is it wrong, but it has long-term consequences – such as giving Trenton Water dubious distinction of being the most inefficient water utility in Mercer County. But it is also costing Hamilton taxpayers and taxpayers all across our state more money than it should, which is exactly why the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities needs to start scrutinizing their books,” explains Mayor Kelly Yaede.
In addition to serving a majority of Hamilton residents, Trenton Water is the water provider for the government buildings such as the Hamilton Township Municipal Building, not to mention several State of New Jersey buildings. Therefore, Trenton Water’s high inefficiency equates to a higher than necessary costs for all Hamilton and State of New Jersey taxpayers as the government entities are forced to pay water bills to the utility.
Yaede’s call for Board of Public Utility oversight has already generated bi-partisan support, as Hamilton Assemblyman Daniel Benson, a Democrat, has agreed to introduce legislation to that end.
“Although any efforts to increase efficiency is welcome, this is another example of ‘too-little, too-late’ when it comes to Trenton Water. Not only would the surplus from our residents’ water bills been more justifiable and better used to make system maintenance repairs, it could have made Mercer County’s most inefficient water provider more efficient, saved taxpayer dollars and prevented emergency water main collapses, which are more costly to repair. In addition to the Board of Public Utilities scrutiny that is sorely needed, no surplus should be used by Trenton Water as a City budget revenue until the utility’s efficiency rates fall in line with other local utilities and acceptable state regulatory levels.”