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Judge Strikes Down Citizens' Water Authority Law

City administration successfully challenges law that would have required voter approval for an MUA

Judge Strikes Down Citizens' Water Authority Law

A judge in Newark Monday overturned a citizen-driven ordinance that would have prevented the creation of a water utility without a public vote, NJ.com reported.

The Web site also quoted supporters who said they may appeal the ruling once the judge’s written decision is released next month.

The administration of Mayor Cory Booker had previously proposed a municipal utility authority, or MUA, to run the city’s water and sewer operations as a way to raise a half-billion in cash needed for repairs to the system. The move would create an agency not directly answerable to city government and able to raise its own funds through borrowing.

Opponents, fearing the loss of local control over the city’s water system, gathering more than 5,000 signatures this summer. The Newark Municipal Council, compelled by state law to vote on the ordinance, enthusiastically approved it last month.

But on the very day the ordinance became city law, the Booker administration filed the court challenge, successfully arguing in part that the law would limit the ability of future elected officials' to make a decision on an MUA.

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