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Statement on Assemblyman Peters’s Call for Local Anti-Stormwater Utilities Resolutions

TRENTON, April 4 — New Jersey Future released the following statement on Assemblyman Peters’s call for the passage of local anti-stormwater utilities resolutions:

“Assemblyman Peters’s press release urging municipalities to pass a resolution proclaiming they will not implement stormwater utilities provides an inaccurate characterization of a very serious problem facing New Jersey’s cities and towns. Communities across the state experience chronic flooding that results in property loss and waterways so polluted that fishing and other recreational activities are routinely banned.

“In New Jersey, stormwater management funding currently comes from property taxes, which unfairly burdens residents and businesses while exempting owners of large facilities such as colleges and federal buildings. Everyone contributes to the problem and everyone should contribute to the solution in a fair and equitable way, which can be done through a stormwater utility. That’s why more than 40 states in the country have enabled their communities to create stormwater utilities. Communities that have created utilities include urban ares such as Portland, Oregon, Philadelphia, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida; suburban communities such as Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Avon, Indiana, and Gallatin, Tennessee; and rural areas such as Hobart, Wisconsin. Despite differences in geographic and political landscape, all of these places have something in common: the need to upgrade stormwater management.

“The assemblyman’s message is particularly damaging to our cities with combined sewer systems which are required by the state Department of Environmental Protection to implement plans to reduce overflows of untreated sewage into streets and waterways. These cities, including Newark and Camden, while primed for a rebirth, do not have a tax base that can support the work necessary to comply with NJDEP’s mandate. They could consider implementing a stormwater utility. And they should.

“New Jersey’s law requires that funds raised by the utility must be dedicated for stormwater management. Municipalities that do not have a serious problem with flooding or waterway pollution right now do not have to create a stormwater utility. However, with the increase in more frequent and more serious storms, they should keep the door open to future investments.”

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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