Facts About the OBMUA Operating Surplus
The Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority (OBMUA) has two primary functions:
Some detractors will suggest that having a surplus (reserve funds) means that rates are too high. On the contrary, because of the surplus, Old Bridge MUA has been able to maintain stable water rates, while also undertaking capital improvements, upgrading and maintaining facilities, and water and wastewater infrastructure.
- Continuously provide a safe clean drinking water.
- Effectively and efficiently remove all residential and commercial wastewater, as well as surface water runoff.
One of the Most Efficient Authorities in the State of New Jersey —
Old Bridge MUA is widely considered to be one of the most well–run, efficient and cost effective water and wastewater authorities in the state.
Old Bridge MUA is known for doing more with less and makes the most out of its small but efficient workforce. Efficiency measures are implemented throughout the Authority with the goal of not only saving ratepayer dollars — but to ensure the quality of the drinking water used by Old Bridge residents.
- Old Bridge MUA serves 65,000 Old Bridge residents,
- Maintains 43 square miles of water and wastewater infrastructure,
- Operates 2 water treatment facilities and numerous pump stations for water distribution and wastewater collection, and;
- Only employs 62 employees (i.e. water treatment professionals, wastewater professionals, maintenance workers and administrative staff).
This type of efficiency has resulted in the stabilization of water rates for Old Bridge customers, despite rate increases in neighboring municipalities.
Years ago, the Old Bridge MUA implemented a "workforce reduction program." In 2004, there were 79 employees. This has been reduced to 62 employees in 2009; a reduction of 21.5%. This resulted in a reduction of salaries and wages. In 2003, salaries and wages were 26.7% of actual expenses. This has been reduced to 19.6% of actual expenses in 2009.
Capital Improvements, Preventative Maintenance,
Upgrades and Equipment Purchases —
Saving money, preventing waste, operating efficiently and maintaining a high level of quality water is the goal of the Old Bridge MUA. The professionals at the Authority are constantly finding ways to repair damaged sewer or water lines, prevent damage to the wells, facilities and equipment before they become major problems. The water system is vital to the community and that’s why Old Bridge MUA is serious about maintaining their assets.
And when the unexpected happens, Old Bridge MUA can use its surplus to fund emergency repair projects and necessary capital improvements — all without relying on ratepayers or taxpayers.
Through a combination of funding the surplus and practicing pro–active maintenance, Old Bridge MUA has not had the need to issue bonds (debt) to cover its expenses. Old Bridge MUA bonds for specific capital improvement projects through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and the open market to obtain the best rates. Old Bridge MUA is able to do this because of its Triple A bond rating.
Stabilizing Rates —
Because of the surplus, Old Bridge MUA will be able to continue to make improvements, upgrades and institute capital improvement projects without increasing rates or issuing debt — something that other authorities in the region typically do.
The surplus allows Old Bridge MUA to operate and pay for maintenance projects — all while giving back millions to offset Township taxes.
In these difficult times, many rate–payers cannot afford increases in their utility bills — much like they can’t afford municipal tax increases. While Old Bridge MUA cannot be held accountable for the Mayor and Council’s budgetary decisions on the municipal level, they can ensure that they are doing their best to continue to provide quality water at a fair and stabilized rate.