Secure funding to start replacing the water lines today

Dear Editor:
If you’re like most people in Hoboken, you’ve been stocking up on bottled water, or boiling huge pots of it before drinking or cooking with it. The unfortunate reality is that this time-consuming ritual is becoming too common for Hoboken residents, and according to a recent NBC-4 story, SUEZ engineers say Hoboken residents should expect an average of two water-main breaks per month. We think we should expect better than rhetoric that blames history for the issue. This problem is here today, and if we don’t act on it now, the problem will continue. It’s no secret that Hoboken’s infrastructure is aged and needs constant re-investment. Today, we’re putting forward an amenable proposal that we invite our colleagues on the City Council to consider.
The City of Hoboken maintains a recurring $8 million surplus, with another $5 million generated from parking revenues. Needless to say, Hoboken’s “rainy-day” has arrived and it is time we do something about it. We propose using these resources to fix the work on our failing pipes now. Bonding a portion to be paid with the surplus over a 5-year period will allow us to completely update our water and sewage infrastructure without risking our financial future.
In order to keep up with the pace of urban development, we propose dedicating approximately $2 million per year, in addition to contributions from SUEZ, over the next few years to replacing and updating our water lines. This simple and economical solution provides the much need improvements without breaking the bank.
Budgets are about priorities and the choices we make reflects our priorities. We agree that there are several projects in the City that merit attention, but nothing screams “rainy day” to us more than the sight of ruptured pipes, gaping sinkholes, flooded streets and brown drinking water. Our proposal is simple. Secure funding to start replacing the water lines today. Pay it down using the surplus over time. This surplus belongs to the taxpayers of Hoboken after all. This is an idea that the incoming City Council should find amenable and we look forward to working with Mayor Zimmer, our new Council colleagues, and to having a productive and detailed discussion about how to fix our water infrastructure in Hoboken.

Michael Russo
3rd Ward City Council Member

Ruben Ramos
4th Ward City Council Member-elect

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