So how do we pay for New Jersey’s aging stormwater infrastructure?
A panel of experts took on this question at New Jersey Future’s 2018 Redevelopment Forum session on the topic. The resounding answer was by allowing for stormwater utilities to be established in New Jersey. According to the 2017 Western Kentucky University Stormwater Utility Survey, there are now 1,639 stormwater utilities nationally, that operate in 40 states. New Jersey does not have a single stormwater utility.
“We have serious stormwater issues, we have those, but we don’t have money.” Senator Bob Smith kicked off the forum session by talking about New Jersey’s stormwater challenges and why they have not been addressed. “Infrastructure doesn’t vote, and does not have a constituency,” he said, but he thinks that the time has come. In January, he introduced Senate Bill 1073, which authorizes municipalities, counties, and certain authorities to establish stormwater utilities.
This article was written by Elsa Leistikow, a recent graduate of The College of New Jersey with a major in sociology and a minor in public policy.
That’s the first point Stephanie Gidigbi, director of NRDC’s Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), made in the Power of P3s session at New Jersey Future’s 2018 Redevelopment Forum.
Her comments were met with broad concurrence from the rest of the panel, including Dawn Zimmer, former mayor of Hoboken, and Chris Paladino, president of the non-profit New Brunswick Development Corporation. Although these partnerships might look like a panacea to cash-strapped municipalities, Gidigbi emphasized, P3s are not mechanisms for free outsourcing from the private sector. As in any redevelopment project or social service delivery program, aligning conflicting incentives among municipalities, developers, and financiers to deliver a focused, effective outcome is a challenging process.
“Complexity can be fun.” These parting words from Dave Gibbons, president and chief executive officer of the Elberon Development Group, best summed up the 2018 Redevelopment Forum’s panel on Trends in Redevelopment Finance. In front of a standing-room only-crowd, Jong Sook Nee Esq., co-founder of NeePlata Law LLC, moderated the panel that included Leslie Anderson, executive director of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority; Valerie Jackson, director of the policy, planning, and development department for the City of East Orange; and Mr. Gibbons.