PLAINFIELD, NJ — The Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority held its combined Committee Meeting/Regular Meeting via teleconferencing on April 7. The shortened meeting lasted just over thirty minutes with department heads updating the commissioners with the PMUA’s activities since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. No residents participated on the call which was open to the public.
Although individual committees did not meet in March, Deputy Director Beverly Morris-Gill provided an update on the authority’s finances, and stressed that revenues were considerably down at the end of the first quarter compared to that of 2019. The timing of the payments from residential and high-density customers comes at a time when many residents are facing layoffs and uncertainty due to the pandemic. Second-quarter bills, to be processed and sent out shortly, will better reflect the impact of the virus.
Morris-Gill also noted that departments were directed to restrict their spending to essential purchases only, and they were beginning the process of reviewing vendors in order to negotiate refunds if applicable.
Director Eric Jackson stated that the authority was maintaining constant communication between the City and State as they monitor the economic impact to the waste industry.
Jackson also mentioned they are in direct contact with the Plainfield Health Officer, Dr. Atif Nazir, as the utilities authority continues to monitor the direct impact on its personnel: drivers and laborers who have been personally affected, and administrative staff with ill family members. Deep cleaning of the PMUA fleet and offices have been sanitized as a reduced staff work on an alternate work-schedule.
With respect to the recent changes to the collection schedule, pick-ups originally scheduled for this Friday, Good Friday, will be shifted to Thursday, April 9, and residents are being notified via robocall to place receptacles by the curb the night before. Jackson noted that staff is in place to ensure that all routes are completed by Friday morning.
Commissioner Robin Bright asked if any consideration was being given to the overall workflow and schedules if the pandemic continues through the summer.
Several avenues are being considered to seek relief, Jackson noted, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES). “If we continue on this path, it is imminent that change is coming,” he stated.
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