August 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Scrambling to minimize property tax increases, officials have taken innovative efforts to improve the borough’s income statement by reducing expenses and adding much needed revenues. Those efforts, already incorporated in the 2013 budget, have eased taxpayer burdens by over $400,000.
The lion’s share of the savings is provided by a mutually beneficial agreement with the City of Summit where both municipalities share wastewater treatment services.
Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said that joint effort saves New Providence $100,000 a year.
Twice a day, borough employees from the Wastewater Treatment Plant visit four pumping stations in Summit for inspections and ensure proper operating conditions. The employees are all state certified and licensed.
Marvin said employees take temperature readings, ensure there are no unusual vibrations or overflows and check that all pumps are operating within normal ranges.
“If one of these pumps fails, it could be a pretty ugly situation,” Marvin said.
The administrator added that the borough was blessed to have some extraordinary personnel working at the Waste Water Treatment Plant who can conduct the kind of repairs and services that some other towns contract with outside companies to perform.
“They can rebuild pumps, rebuild bushings and handle all maintenance issues,” Marvin said.
Services to Summit outside of the shared services agreement are performed on an hourly rate providing New Providence with additional revenue of $125,000 a year and providing Summit with substantial expense savings.
“We are able to provide services (to Summit) previously provided by an outside company at a lesser charge,” Marvin said.
Talking about wastewater, the borough also has an agreement with Alcatel-Lucent which brings the town additional revenues of $38,000 per year.
Marvin explained that the company previously had a force main line that ran directly to Summit and ultimately to a joint Union and Essex facility where all New Providence and Summit sewage is processed.
Repairs to the line would have cost Lucent over a million dollars which prompted the company to strike a $38,000 annual agreement with the borough to locally accept the company’s waste water.
Marvin said that amounted to 50,000 gallons a day of non-typical human waste with pretty clean water.
The borough also participates in a reverse electricity auction where all electric accounts go to bid providing an estimated annual savings of $40,000 to $60,000.
For the last couple of years the borough has entered into a shared services agreement with Westfield to provide Board of Health services and inspections. Marvin said that agreement provides the borough with a $24,000 savings.
Taking advantage of a Union County solid waste agreement, the borough extended its commitment for solid waste disposal at an incinerator in Rahway offering an annual $40,000 savings.
Also, a few years ago, taking advantage of a common municipal judge, the borough and Berkeley Heights joined forces to create a shared court located in New Providence.
Through that effort the borough receives $24,000 annual in rent from Berkeley Heights. In addition, the court administrators in both towns offer back-up services as deputies.
With the advent of winter still about four months away, most residents have conveniently pushed aside thoughts of icy and snow-filled streets.
“Four years ago the borough along with Summit, Chatham and Millburn jointly purchased a brine machine which produces a liquid product spread on streets prior to an expected snow storm.
Marvin said the brine can be spread on roads up to 48 hours prior to a snow event to melt the first few inches of snow during regular business hours eliminating the need for overtime. He estimated that effort saves the borough $2,000 per storm event.