More than 40 years ago, Hazlet, Holmdel and Union Beach formed the structure of the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority (BRSA), which has since inducted five more towns into its service area. At their last few municipal meetings of 2011, the governing bodies of Hazlet and Union Beach passed resolutions stating their intent to end the 40-year relationship with the BRSA.
“We started negotiations with [the BRSA]. We talked about different processes of the flow to control the costs. That kind of died for a little while,” Hazlet Mayor Scott Aagre said in a Dec. 29 interview.
“We wanted to put the termination in to spur a little more activity. We’re not happy with what’s there. We’ll continue to have discussions with them to renew the contract coming up in mid-2012.”
The BRSA was founded in 1971 with three host towns: Hazlet, Holmdel and Union Beach, where the authority’s facility is located.
The authority additionally serves Keyport, Matawan, Aberdeen, Keansburg and parts of Marlboro.
According to the contract, any of the three host towns may choose to terminate their agreement with the BRSA if they provide six months’ notice.
Aagre said that if the three host towns were to pass a resolution to terminate the agreement, then the BRSA would be effectively dissolved.
“That’s what would have to happen. If they pass this resolution [to terminate the contracts] or for changes in the existing structure, there has to be a vote by all three towns.”
At its Dec. 6 meeting, the Hazlet Township Committee unanimously passed a resolution to terminate the agreement with BRSA on June 24, the date the original contract is set to expire.
The resolution states: “The efforts of Hazlet Township to negotiate an acceptable extension or modification of the agreement with BRSA have been unsuccessful.”
According to the Union Beach Municipal Clerk’s Office, the borough passed the same resolution on Dec. 15
In a Dec. 29 interview, Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said the Township Committee hadn’t yet discussed passing a similar resolution.
In a Jan. 3 interview, BRSA Executive Director Robert Fischer said the authority’s job would remain the same regardless of the terminations passed by Hazlet and Union Beach.
“They would be sending us their sewage without any agreement to send us their sewage,” he said.
Fischer expressed confidence that an agreement that’s fair to all parties would be hammered out.
“It’s hard to sum [a potential dissolution] up because it’s unlikely that it’s going to happen. They’ve got to send their sewage somewhere, and their pipes are hooked up to the BRSA system,” he said.
“We lowered our rates this year, and there’s a good chance we’ll be lowering our rates next year. I think we’ll get a contract in place.”
When asked if Hazlet Township was looking at dissolving the authority, Aagre said the township is open to it.
“Dissolving the authority is an option. That’s still an option. If the three towns [passed the resolution], we’d have to dissolve it and put something in its place, a similar type of structure or some other process to keep it going,” he said.
“You’d have to have something in place already to be contiguous, so they flow right into each other. Then we’ll look at potentially what our options are prior to June.”
He added that meetings set for the first week of January were being rescheduled due to the availability of township and BRSA officials.
“We’re trying to draft a service agreement that is fair and equitable to all,” Fischer said.
“I’m not really sure where to go with this. I’ve never been part of [a sewerage] authority that didn’t have a contract with the towns it was servicing.”
The relationship between Union Beach and BRSA has been strained by the sewerage authority’s plans to erect a 386-foottall wind turbine, which the borough opposes. Union Beach and BRSA have traded legal actions and, according to court documents, oral arguments could be heard in January. In addition to Union Beach, the towns of Hazlet, Holmdel, Keyport and Matawan have passed resolutions opposing construction of the wind turbine.
The BRSA is scheduled to meet on Jan. 9 and Jan. 16 at its headquarters in Union Beach.