Newark’s Water Wars Could Be Coming To A CIty Near You

Photo Credit: the People’s Organization for Progress Reparations Committee via

This is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme that will make rates go up and service and water quality go down for the people of Newark,” ~ Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director

Times is hard for Cubans and residents of Newark, NJ. So hard toilet paper is a luxury.

While I disagree with the The Huffington Post’s framing of this serious issue as a run on toilet paper, the fact is Mayor Cory Booker says Newark can’t afford to buy any because the city is saddled with a $70 million budget gap. Booker is looking to fill that gap by leasing the water system.

He’s looking to create an independent authority to manage Newark’s water system, update old water pipe infrastructure, raise water prices and most importantly borrow $223 million, to be paid back from those water fees because the city can’t do it itself.

To me this is like putting a credit card in your child’s name so you can keep spending recklessly or mismanaging your money. Seems like they’ll be in the same trouble later which will lead to the next solution– privatizing the city’s water and selling it to some foreign multinational conglomerate.

Cash strapped states and cities nationwide are making damned if you do an possibly even more damned if you don’t decisions now.

According to Booker without his plan Newark faces a 37% property tax hike, a 4-day work week for non-uniformed city employees, shutting the city’s pools and summer day camp, cutbacks on holiday decorations…and of course on toilet paper.

Despite private companies offing to provide pool services and toilet paper (!) that still leaves a $60-55 million budget hole to be filled.

Public hearings so far show public hatred for the idea of mortgaging the city’s water infrastructure away.

Who can blame them? The people need water to live and that should not be put in jeopardy…ever.


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