Public-private partnerships can be a great tool for cities, towns and boroughs of all sizes to manage tight budgets while providing expertly managed municipal services to residents. On Thursday, August 1, United Water signed a contract with the Borough of Allendale to operate and maintain its water system and provide clean and safe water to 2,300 households.
Allendale will continue to own the water system and set rates for its residents but the Borough will benefit from United Water New Jersey’s regional expertise and resources in water services, customer service, billing and meter reading.
“We are excited to begin this public-private partnership,” said Mayor Vince Barra. “It is a win-win solution for our residents and the Borough. Allendale gains the expertise and resources of United Water and at the same time we save a considerable amount in our water budget.”
The five-year, $590,000-per-year deal will save the Borough about $193,000 annually, which will go towards infrastructure improvements and stabilizing water rates.
This contract comes at a time when the deteriorating condition of the nation’s water infrastructure has generated a lot of attention. Competing needs for other municipal services, such as roads, fire departments, police and schools have stretched the finances in many American towns beyond their limits. This, coupled with dwindling federal support of water infrastructure funding, has led to a decades-long decline in the nation’s water infrastructure. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will take more than $600 billion during the next two decades to bring pipes and treatment facilities nationwide back to standard.
“Maintaining clean, sustainable water supplies is the single most important contributor to public health and is essential to creating vibrant local economies,” said David Stanton, president of United Water’s regulated segment. “With ever increasing pressure on scarce water resources and dwindling public funds, the private sector has a more important role than ever to provide a lasting solution to America’s water challenge. We will partner with communities across the nation seeking a viable solution to the increasing challenge of maintaining water and wastewater infrastructure.”