CALDWELL, NJ — After receiving a letter from New Jersey American Water (NJAW), which recently analyzed the Borough of Caldwell’s infrastructure improvements and determined an estimated value of the borough’s water system, Mayor Ann Dassing suggested that the borough council invite NJAW to give a presentation at an upcoming meeting.

According to Dassing, NJAW estimated a value of approximately $4.5-to-5.5 million, or $2300-$2900 per customer, to privatize the borough’s water system.

“The associated purchase price would be enough to satisfy the $2.9 million of outstanding debt that’s currently associated with the borough’s water utility,” said Dassing. “In addition, the borough would receive an amount in excess of the water utility debt of between $1.6 and $2.6 million, which the borough could then use to pay down other municipal debt—thus freeing up the associated debt service payments for other more productive municipal uses.”

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Dassing’s fellow council members agreed that this was something worth looking into and were in favor of inviting NJAW representatives to further explain the proposal during a future council meeting.

In other news, Councilman Pasquale Capozzoli reported during Tuesday’s public council meeting that the Caldwell Police Department is continuing its efforts to alleviate speeding concerns within the borough.  

He said that radar trailers are currently out on the roads collecting the average speed of passing vehicles. Overall, he said the average speed is within the limits, but that some have exceeded and summonses were issued to those drivers.

“We’re never going to stop all the speeding, that would be totally impossible, but we’re trying the best we can,” said Capozzoli, adding that he hopes the detectors and summonses will help cut down the number of speeders.

In his first report as a Caldwell councilman, Jonathan Lace, liaison to the Caldwell Environmental Commission (CEC), thanked the members of the CEC for their warm welcome during the commission’s first meeting of the year.

Lace extended the CEC’s thanks to the council for recently passing a resolution in support of the Paris Climate Accord.

“In the face of the denial of scientific consensus on the anthropogenic causes of climate change expressed by the executive branch of the federal government, the commission believes it is important that all local communities do their part to help achieve the goal of the accord,” said Lace.

Lace added that the commission also requests greater promotion and enforcement of the state anti-idling law, which prohibits idling in a vehicle for more than three minutes. According to Lace, the CEC intends to meet with the West Caldwell Environmental Commission to discuss strategies for increased anti-idling education in the Caldwell-West Caldwell school district.

Additionally, the commission also encouraged residents to give public comment on the proposed new beekeeping regulations, which can be found on the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s website. According to the New Jersey Beekeepers Association, these new regulations would negatively impact beekeeping in New Jersey.

Resident comments on this subject should be Emailed to proposedrulesplantindustry@ag.state.nj.us or mailed to Joseph Zoltowski, director of the Division of Plant Industry, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ, 08625.