To the Editor:
On March 20, the City Council voted to approve a new Municipal Utilities Authority Commissioner, effectively ending my time on the board. I would like to say that I enjoyed being a part of this agency for the last seven-and-a-half years. Looking back on my time as commissioner, I am reminded of many pertinent things that happened to our great City of Bayonne and my reactions to these events.
I was the only commissioner who spoke out against the 46 percent rate increase in 2006. I found the golf club taking water directly from hydrants without a meter, resulting in a fine. I was proud of approving the first windmill in Public Service Electric’s area that would have saved the MUA $350,000 a year in energy savings. I helped the MUA retrieve monies when I discovered the MUA was not paid for 280,000 gallons of water that was pumped into a cruise ship. And I was the only MUA commissioner who was against the recent deal between the Bayonne MUA and KKR and United Water. I still feel that the city’s rate payers are going to bear the burden of this deal. This deal is going to severely increase rates that will break the backs of the citizens of Bayonne.
Mayor Smith falsely claims proof that he is moving the city’s forward because the city’s bond rating has improved. The reality of the situation is that the bond rating has improved because the United Water and KKR deal has guaranteed that the citizens of Bayonne will pay large increases and give most of the benefits of its assets away for the next 40 years. It is the citizens of Bayonne that will ultimately pay, and pay dearly for the bond rating improvement.
I would like to thank all the people who contacted me and wished me well. I would like to thank all those who acknowledged that I did my best to look out for the people of Bayonne and encourage my former fellow commissioners to scrutinize their agendas and break their silence when important issues arise.
I hope for the best for all my former commissioners, former and current MUA employees, MUA legal counsel, and my replacement. I wish you all luck in all your future proceedings.
GARY LA PELUSA SR.
Former Councilman, Former MUA Commissioner