After unanimous approval of the agreement last March, the City of Hoboken officially entered into its new contract with SUEZ Water as of July 1st. The agreement will leave Hoboken with a new public water utility to be managed by the City, supposedly generating $33 million over the next 15 years specifically for water infrastructure upgrades.
“Today is a historic day for the City of Hoboken,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “We are finally able to make multi-million dollar investments into our aging water main system that have been badly needed for many years. Hoboken will now upgrade our most vulnerable water mains and focus on proactive upgrades, instead of just responding to water main breaks.”
Looming legal battles between the City of Hoboken and SUEZ had long left the future of Hoboken’s infrastructure—which includes pipes from the 1890’s—hanging perilously in the balance. The City says the new agreement was based largely upon the framework of the initial SUEZ negotiations led by former Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and her administration in 2017.
“The additional $33 million available to make necessary upgrades to our water system is the direct result of my Infrastructure subcommittee working collaboratively with the City for the past two years,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, who serves on the Infrastructure Subcommittee. “Our new contract with SUEZ is an incredible achievement because the additional revenues the City of Hoboken receives under this contract equates to less of a burden on city taxpayers to address these critical repairs. This is a true testament of what we can accomplish when we put politics aside and work together to put Hoboken’s best interests first.”
For customers, there will be no change to the process of bill payments, nor for service calls. Meanwhile revenue from Hoboken’s water consumption will be placed in the public water utility, with, “the majority of the revenue directly invested into water infrastructure upgrades,” according to the City. SUEZ will continue to maintain and operate the system.
“We are proud of the 25-year partnership we have with the City of Hoboken and look forward to working with the City to improve its water system during the next 15 years,” said Chris Riat, General Manager/Vice-President for SUEZ New Jersey Operations. “The Mayor, City Council and SUEZ are all focused on building a sustainable water system that will serve residents for generations to come.”