Edison, NJ – The sometimes contentious public hearing on Mayor Thomas Lankey’s proposed 40 year lease of Edison’s water and sewer systems to Edison Environmental Partners, a joint venture between Suez and KKR, a private equity firm, will continue on May 2, 2019. The hearing, which began on March 28, will continue at 6 p.m. at Council Chambers in the Municipal Building located at 100 Municipal Blvd in Edison.
At the April 10 council meeting, lawmakers shot down a proposed non-binding referendum on the issue.
Council members Ajay Patil and Joseph Coyle introduced a resolution authorizing a referendum in November that would have allowed residents to vote on whether the township should enter into the proposed Water and Wastewater Concession Agreement.
But the measure never made it to the agenda after Council members Michael Lombardi, Leonard Sendelsky, Samip (Sam) Joshi, Robert Diehl, and Council President Alvaro Gomez all voted against adding the resolution to the agenda. The measure was procedurally defeated by a vote of 5-2, with only Mr. Patil and Mr. Coyle supporting the referendum.
It is now likely that residents will not have an opportunity to vote on the matter, leaving the decision in the hands of the seven member legislative body. A date for a vote on the agreement has not been set and council members stated that there would be continued opportunity for residents to be educated about the agreement.
Edison Environmental Partners will be responsible for the Township’s entire sewer system under the agreement. Mayor Lankey estimates that approximately 12,000 water customers located primarily to the south of Route 287 and currently serviced by NJ American Water will become Edison Environmental Partners customers for water under the proposed Edison-Suez deal.
According to a previously published public notice, the proposed agreement includes an “estimated (subject to adjustment pursuant to the Agreement) residential rate increases of a 4.9% adjustment per year in years 1 through 10 of the Agreement, a 4.5% adjustment per year in years 11 through 25 of the Agreement and a 3.5% adjustment per year, in years 26 through 40 of the Agreement.”
The Concession Agreement is available on the Township’s website. The proposed Agreement has also been on file with the Edison Township Clerk since March 14, 2019 and can be inspected at the offices of the Township Clerk, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Township Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Boulevard, Edison, New Jersey 08817.