JERSEY CITY AND ITS WATER TROUBLES.
AS we have before remarked, Jersey City is completely at the mercy of the East Jersey Water Company, which has the citizens by the throat. Its struggle to obtain a supply of pure water has been long and expensive—even yet it has not been successful, and the city has to pay through the nose for the very insufficient and unsatisfactory supply it obtains from the East Jersey Company. Its troubles, however, are by no means at an end—there is no end in sight. The latest phase in the imbroglio is a suit in the Supreme court which is to be heard very soon at Trenton,N. J., the complainants being the East Jersey Company and the defendant Jersey City, which is being sued for the recovery of §500,000 for water furnished the defendant for one year from January* 10, 1896, to January 10, 1897. It will be remembered that in October, 1895, Jersey City entered into a contract with the company for the furnishing of a temporary supply of water. The contract was to become operative in April,
1896, at which time the company was to deliver to the city at least 22,000,000 gallons of water a day. Owing to an incorrect estimate of the carrying capacity of its pipes, the company was unable to fulfil its agreement. The city consequently declared the contract void. The company, however, under a proposition which was never acquiesced in, reconstructed its plant, increased its carrying capacity, and on January 10, 1896, turned into the city’s mains an adequate supply of water. That supply has since been enjoyed by the city under no agreement, verbal or otherwise. No payments have been made to the company, although it has from time to time filed with the city for settlement bills for water supplied at the rate of §43 a million gallons. Up to January 30,
1897, the company’s claim against the city amounts to §243,000, and, being unable to secure its payment, suit has been instituted for double the amount. In its bill the company cites the fact
that the city, between August 12, 1896, and (Ictober 1 2 of the same year, unnecessarily pumped from the Passaic river 337,000,000 gallons of water; such pumping was done, it is alleged, only to keep employed certain political henchmen and not because the company was not furnishing a supply equal to the consumption. Mayor M anser and the city officials agree that the company is entitled to pay for the water furnished, but contend that under the circumstances §43 a million gallons is exorbitant. In the event of the suit being decided against the city, it will be necessary to raise on bonds such judgment as the company secures. The city, in anticipation of the continuance of the temporary supply, is preparing to raise ater rents generally—a pleasing prospect for the taxpayers in a body. Hut politics of the corruptest sort has ever been the bane of Hudson county in general, and Jersey City in particular. Mayor Wanser has only succeeded to the inheritance of an evil legacy—“ The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”