Monday, December 14, 2015

Russo-Ramos debut a big drip (of water)


This weekend Hoboken got a preview of what the next few years are going to look like.  Did you read the "proposal" in the  Hoboken Reporter?

Get used to it!

Expect 'Boss' Russo and Mini-Me Ramos to latch on to issues of public concern, twist facts like licorice, and solve them with cotton candy.

Their first policy roll-out:  a 5 year plan to "fix our water infrastructure."

Boss and Mini-Me propose using $2 million/year (approx) from the surplus, with "contributions" from SUEZ, and "bonding a portion"  for "a simple and economical solution providing much needed improvements without breaking the bank."

Ummm....  are they kidding?

Boss Russo and Mini Me Ramos solve Hoboken's water supply infrastructure crisis 

Doesn't one need a plan before one knows what one is doing, when one needs to do it and how much it will cost?

Wouldn't one want input from engineers with expertise in design/repair of a city's water supply infrastructure to determine what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how to do it, which all drives the cost?

Jeez, I think the supplemental budget Boss Russo presented on a napkin at the City Council made more sense.

Now, the Boss and Mini Me (B&MM) have hit on a critical issue that hopefully, the new Council will address immediately.

But, GA would suggest to avoid looking silly next time, Boss and Mini Me refrain from bursting out of the gate with a numb-nuts 'solution' to a complex problem.  STOP getting your 'proposals' from political strategists.

Enough already. THINK. WORK.

No need to showboat, just do your job.

For anyone who has lived here for at least a decade, busted water mains in Hoboken are nothing new. An article by the talented Ray Smith in 2011 discussed the recurrent problem:
United Water has run the city’s water infrastructure since signing a 1994 contract with the city. As part of the contract, United Water is required to contribute $350,000 annually for capital improvements to the water infrastructure. The contract is in effect until 2024.

United Water receives approximately $8 million in annual revenue and has approximately $4 million in annual expenses, according to a letter from United Water to Zimmer.

Zimmer said the contract between United Water and the city of Hoboken is “a challenge” for the city.

“We sold the rights to our water main system for $13.2 million,” Zimmer said. “In exchange we get $350,000 a year in improvements and they get $4 million in revenue.”
The contract was signed by former Mayor Anthony Russo to fill a gaping municipal budget deficit.

Zimmer called the contract short-sighted, and was disappointed that the revenues are going to United Water and not the city of Hoboken.

...Beginning in 2014, the $350,000 in capital improvement funds can increase if the consumer price index spikes.

The water main system is distinct from the city’s combined sewer system, which is operated by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority. The combined sewer system is for rainwater drainage and sewage.
Well folks, B&MM are correct- the city needs to take action to prevent future disruption in our city's water supply.

Even if it costs more than "2 MILLION DOLLARS... muaaa ha ha ha ha!"

13 comments:

  1. Mr. Michael has never been good with math.

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  2. Russo's father is the one who got us into this mess with the short-sighted deal he made with United Water, and now his blowhard of a son has the balls to opine on what Hoboken should do?

    But that's the old guard way. Create a shit storm, blame others and offer solutions to line your and your friends' pockets. When all else fails, sue.

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  3. So the son wants to fix the father's short-term stupidity with some fresh short-term stupidity. It's amazing how many characteristics turn out to be genetic.

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  4. 2 million? You can't buy a row house on Bloomfield for 2 million. To repair the city's water distribution system... 100 million sounds more like it, probably more. Dopes.

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  5. Russo made a bad deal back then. Zimmer should use her magic to get us our water system back. Its funny J.F Creamer keeps making repairs on any breaks that occurs in town but yet I never see a United Water truck or crew make a repair. Hoboken can run there own system and sub out repairs as United Water is doing @ 4 million a year.

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    1. Not only magic, but a whole lotta loot. I agree with you, the city should own the rights to its own water system. What we buy back 21 years later is arguably worth less, a system breaking down more frequently than it did in 1994

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  6. I'm sure that shore house is now worth 2 million.

    And we could use all that money that Pa Russo owes the city to fix da pipes.

    HA

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    1. Nope. Word is he transferred ownership of his assets including the shore house, to a family trust which preserved it from being taken by the court to pay his fines. At his felony sentencing he claimed he gambled away the cash he took in Atlantic City and is broke and was to make very small payments on his hundreds of thousands of fines.
      Not sure why the City never pursued being reimbursed for the years of platinum medical benefits that Russo was not entitled too after his felony convictions.

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    2. Now that the council is 7-2 they should go after the money Anthony Russo owes the city, and anything they can recover from the insurance benefits he was not eligible for as well

      Garnished wages, etc.. Also if any sort of discussion of Church Towers comes up in the future there should be a provision that convicted felons who owe the city money and fail to pay in full are thrown out

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    3. Better still, they ought to tar and feather Sr, Ma & Fat Uncle Fester looking Mike and run them out of town.

      To be clear/disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEANT LITERALLY. TARRING AND FEATHERING IS NOT LEGAL. PLEASE DO NOT TAR AND FEATHER ANYONE. THIS IS SATIRICAL. But it is too good an end for the members of that particular scourge of a family.

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    4. I would be happy with the money.

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    5. For non lethal alternative, I suggest Molasses and Feathering

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  7. Trying to trace this agreement back, found a document from 2002 that stated the following. How did the agreement go from 20-years in 1994, to 30 years, and what looks like a decrease in the capital improvement allowance vs. the original?

    Hoboken, New Jersey faced the same problem many cities face after owning its own water system for more than 100 years. Time had taken a toll on its infrastructure, regulations became more costly, and lack of an on-going capital improvement program left the system with an $800,000 annual deficit. In order to break even, a rate increase of 35 percent would have been needed in one year. In order to avert such
    a hike, in 1994 the city entered into an agreement with United Water in what was considered to be one of the pioneering agreements of public-private partnerships. Initially the city entered into a 10-year agreement, which later was renegotiated to a 20-year agreement.

    The contract provides for concession fees of $10 million to be paid in three payments. Capital improvements are scheduled at $550,000 per year. The city also benefits from the installation of a stateof-the-art automated meter-reading system, ownership of which reverts to the city, at its option,
    at the end of 10 years. The city also receives a percentage of growth of future income.

    Source: U.S. Conference of Mayors

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