(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrat Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) has introduced legislation to study the feasibility and benefits of consolidating two of New Jersey’s water suppliers.
The bill (A-4232) would establish the “North Jersey District Water Supply Commission and Passaic Valley Water Commission Consolidation Committee” to consider the possible consolidation of the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission (NJDWSC) and the Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC).
“Consolidating these two water suppliers could potentially save the state money, cut down on bureaucracy and lower water bills for residents,” said Eustace. “The task force created by this bill would have a year to determine whether merging these two suppliers would be logistically possible and advantageous to the state and consumers. Given the potential benefits, it is worth exploring.”
The committee would be required to submit a report to the governor and the Legislature within one year concerning the possible consolidation. The report must include the committee’s findings and recommendations concerning potential issues posed by the consolidation including: legal matters, including review of bond covenants and labor issues; operational matters; financial matters, including savings and costs; and any other matter the committee deems relevant. If the committee determines that consolidation is a viable option, the committee would have to submit with its recommendations a legislative proposal to consolidate the NJDWSC and PVWC for adoption by the Legislature.
The committee would consist of seven members, as follows: three members appointed by the governor, of which two would have professional background and expertise in the area of water supply or water infrastructure issues and one would have professional background and expertise in public finance; two members appointed by the Senate president; and two members appointed by the speaker of the General Assembly. All members are to be independent public administration and water policy experts, policymakers, or practitioners, and none may have served as a commissioner or employee of the NJDWSC or PVWC.
The bill has been referred to the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.