Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo is expected to announce on Monday that the county will guarantee a bond issue for the City of Newark to replace old lead-lined water pipes as a solution to the city’s drinking water crisis, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Gov. Phil Murphy and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka will join DiVincenzo at his announcement on Monday morning in Newark.
Essex County’s ability to guarantee the bonds for Newark – something the state’s largest city could not do on their own – will help Baraka raise the approximately $70 million he needs to complete the project.
Sources told the Globe that Newark will pay the debt, but the county will serve as a guarantor.
DiVincenzo announced last year that Essex had been awarded a Aaa bond rating after a sixteen-year effort.
By putting county government on a solid financial footing, DiVincenzo can assistant a city in dire need.
Lead contamination in Newark’s drinking has reached crisis levels this summer. State and local officials have been making bottled water available to residents, and the city has given out nearly 40,000 water filters as a temporary fix.
The crisis escalated earlier this month when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a scornful letter to the city that raised serious safety concerns about Newark’s water supply.