While the Rahway Valley Sewage Authority(RVSA) takes further steps in the litigation process, Scotch Plains commissioner to the RVSA, Bob LaCosta, brought in Jim Meehan, Executive Director and Robert Materna, Secretary Treasurer, of the RVSA to last evening's Council Meeting.
Each council member was able to ask any questions on the progress that the RVSA is making.
Councilman Glover asked Meehan and Materna to summarize their expectations of what Scotch Plains, along with the ten other municipalities involved, should expect.
Meehan explained that he is very optimistic that all towns will see a significant return.
The route the RVSA chose to go was to form a public/private partnership with the use of the sludge dryer and co-generator, both which were part of the 225 million dollar improvements made by the RVSA, 95% of which was mandated by the Judicial Consent Order (JCO).
When the RVSA visited the council last year, Councilman Glover suggested that with the costs of litigation, an option might be to just walk away and scrap the equipment.
Meehan noted that after hearing this suggestion from Glover and it also being mentioned by other councils, they did look into this option but felt they would make at most one million dollars, if that.
Councilman Vastine asked for a clarification that no one town's input was greater than the other's, which Meehan replied that everyone had equal say.
Vastine also asked if the decision was of the majority on moving forward.
After carefully looking at the numbers, Meehan and Materna presented the idea for a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a public/private partnership to the 11 member board, who voted 10 to one in favor of it.
Meehan noted "I would like to use the equipment."
They are currently pursuing RFP's for the sludge dryer and the co-generator.
According the Meehan, the RVSA is trying to mitigate their damages by getting use out of the equipment, which will lessen the amount they will seek in court.
What Meehan and Materna estimate, which Meehan is very optimistic about, is that over the course of the next 20 years they will generate 10 to 15 million dollars.
Scotch Plains, being 6.62 percent of the overall 11 members, is looking at roughly $500,000.
As Councilman Saridaki pointed out, worst case scenario would be that Scotch Plains will receive $30,000 a year for the next twenty years. Meehan agreed.
RVSA, with help of the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT), also refinanced their bonds, including a 20 year bond, which brought in 6.5 million dollars over the next 11 years.
Scotch Plains' share of that bond will be $430,000 spread out from 2013-2035.
Materna noted that the public/private partnership is a fairly new concept that the State of New Jersey is encouraging and further looking into for waste/water treatment facilities.
Meehan added that the public/private partnership is only for a small portion of the facility, the sludge dryer and the co-generator, and that they will not be seeking any further steps towards privatization.
If you would like more information, The Scotch Plains Fanwood-Times covered the issue of Rahway Valley Sewage Authority and the 11 towns affected by the debt.
http://www.goleader.com/11jun02/11jun02.pdf - June 2, 2011. Article is located under the picture in the right corner.
http://www.goleader.com/12sep27/12sep27.pdf - Sept. 27, 2012. Article also located under the picture in the right corner.