Home News Jersey City considers barring property owners from selling homes until they replace lead water lines

Jersey City considers barring property owners from selling homes until they replace lead water lines

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As the Jersey City Municipal Public Utilities Department is working to remove All lead pipes by 2031, The city council may ban property owners from selling their homes unless the lead water pipes are replaced.

The city council introduced an amended ordinance on Monday, allowing property owners to obtain occupancy certificates, code compliance certificates, and smoke and carbon monoxide detector certificates, with lead service lines replaced. You have to prove that Transfer of Ownership of Property.

But JCMUA spokesman Phil Swibinski said the agency, which is responsible for managing the city’s water and wastewater systems, will work closely with property owners throughout the years-long process of removing pipes.

“Because urban areas are prioritized, there is plenty of communication and the opportunity to properly address special cases such as pending home sales,” said Swibinski.

Owners who violate the ordinance can be punished with fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, imprisonment or up to 90 days of community service.

Subsidized by federal, state, and county grants, the MUA is projected to spend $288 million to replace an estimated 16,000 water lines in the city, at no cost to homeowners. increase. Lead water pipes, which will be replaced with copper pipes, carry water from the city’s underground mains to homes.

About 1,700 properties have been confirmed to have lead service lines removed, and 33,000 properties will be investigated for lead, Swibinski said.

The amended ordinance also allows owners to opt out of the program and replace lead lines “at their own expense.” However, the replacement must be made “in accordance with the plan submitted by JCMUA and within the period specified in the notice to the owner”.

The owner must obtain a permit from JCMUA, a copy of the inspection report, an estimate, and proof that the work has been completed.

Swibinski said MUA is launching a program that will allow property owners who have opted out of the MUA service line replacement process to reimburse up to $10,000 for removing the lead service line.

Ron Simoncini, executive director of the City of Jersey Property Owners Association, said this was just another attempt by the city to push costs into the hands of private property owners. , said the owners had “absorbed” costs previously paid for by the city, such as garbage removal and school taxes.

“There are no good options here. Either pay now or risk later with unknown outcomes related to property equity,” Simoncini said. “Unfortunately, everyone is bearing the cost of increased government spending, and there is no place for that money.

“I don’t think the city has anywhere else to make money, so by observing this, I’m not criticizing the administration for trying to find ways to fund these costs…so many There is only one option.”

of JCMUA reached agreement In January, two federal agencies committed $1 billion to improve the city’s sewer and drinking water systems. Swibinski said part of the lead stripping program is included in the agreement and “the two initiatives will work closely together to reduce costs and increase efficiency.”

Swibinski said the final cost of removing each service line would be determined through a bidding process and would depend on “a lot of things, such as the amount of lines to be removed by the contractor, whether there is existing construction activity in the area and the characteristics of the property. It depends on the factors of more. “

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