“I came here to ask this council along with the administration to let’s just step back for a moment in regards to dissolving the MUA,” said Erik Low, vice-chairman of the Municipal Utilities Authority.
Speaking only a week before the city council is set to vote on an ordinance dissolving the authority, Lowe suggested the agency can help further the current administration’s agenda. “The MUA has little to no debt,” said Lowe. “We do have a healthy reserve of cash.”
Lowe made references to a councilman’s plan to provide better equipment to the city’s public works department to maintain roads. The vice-chairman, who was formerly the chairman of the agency, said his agency can bond money to help purchase equipment.
“Let’s step back for a moment on dissolving us and look at the potential of what the MUA can be for the City of Paterson,” said Lowe. The city intends to dissolve the 33-year-old agency and carry its functions into the public works department.
The agency presently handles the upkeep of Overlook Park and other properties nearby the Great Falls National Park. It also owns the hydro electrical plant located at the foot of the falls.
The state mandated the agency’s dissolution earlier in the year in its yearly memorandum of understanding, conditions that come attached with state aid. Since then, the administration of Jeffery Jones attempted to preserve the agency; however after Jose “Joey” Torres took office on July 1st, the new mayor made it one of his first tasks to dissolve the agency.
Last month, the state’s Local Finance Board heard from both the city and the agency. The agency’s lawyer submitted a lengthy report and told the board the cost to dissolve the agency is much more than keeping it.
On Wednesday Torres said the board has yet to decide on the agency’s fate, but that it would make a decision next month.