Trenton Water Works Represents Opportunity for Trenton
Trenton Water Works is a vital resource to our city and our region and will be a top priority for my administration. I pledge both a total financial and administrative review and that I will not seek to sell or privatize the Trenton water utility. At every opportunity, we must look for creative solutions to improve our utilities and create jobs for Trenton locals.
First and foremost, ongoing oversight of the Trenton Water Works is required. I would establish a Mayor’s caucus, including mayors from each of the communities that are served by Trenton Water Works, to allow updates and on-going dialogue. This caucus may be the first step towards a larger Mercer County mayors caucus, that would allow for on-going regional collaboration on larger issues related to shared infrastructure and economic development.
Short staffing is a problem that continues to arise at all points throughout this process. I would seek to partner with Mercer County Community College, as well as other local vocational education institutions, such as Mercer County Vo-Tech and Isles Youth Build. This would solidify that Trenton residents are given direct access to this employment. On-going training programs would assure a steady supply of workers to fill shortages in Trenton and other communities throughout New Jersey.
The Trenton Water Works has similarly struggled to meet the post 9/11 requirement to cover our reservoir. Without a reservoir cover, water is subject to contamination by rainwater, dirt, bird droppings, dead animals, leaves, and acts of vandalism. Additionally, with a floating cover sunlight may be blocked with reduced instances of evaporation and growing algae or other organisms. This will be both an expensive and complex undertaking. During this process, I plan to seek out the traditional and innovative solutions; we will explore the value of alternative methods to cover the reservoir in a way that will promote the most benefit for the Trenton community.
Specifically, my administration has considered the economic value of incorporating a solar cover that would allow the city’s reservoir not only to act as a backup supply for drinking water, but also as an effective generator of electricity and revenue for Trenton. This idea has been successfully implemented in other states and has potential to generate local jobs regarding its construction and maintenance. To increase the feasibility of such projects, my administration will evaluate other administration’s successes and will facilitate the necessary conversations to screen and execute projects with Federal, State, and Local government officials.
Though not without its issues, TWW has excess capacity that offers the potential to spur economic development in Trenton and its surrounding areas. Trenton Water Works has historically served a much larger city population as well as a thriving manufacturing sector, including – notably – the Roebling Wire Works, as well as Trojan Condoms! I will advise Trenton's Economic Development Deparment to market this excess capacity and target businesses that rely on water in production processes. This new business presence will represent new customers for Trenton Water Works as well as a source of job growth for the Trenton community, and an additional source of revenue that we can reinvest in water infrastructure security for years to come.
I believe that we can raise Trenton to new heights, however; to achieve this vision we need to consider and support creative approaches that leverage and capitalize on our existing assets and encourage business and people to live and invest in Trenton. Attacking issues related to Trenton Water Works is a significant first step to improving the quality of life in our community, and making the City a more attractive place to live and do business.