In the early 1950’s the Township of Willingboro was a farming community with a population of about one thousand residents. When Levitt and Sons began buying property in the Township, it became apparent to the town leaders that many new ordinances and laws would be necessary to properly govern and operate a community which would eventually grow to a suburban area for forty thousand people. One of the critical areas that the governing body addressed was the area of public water and sewerage.
The Municipal Utilities Authorities Act of 1957 provided for the creation of local municipal authorities. Prior to the passage of this law, the Willingboro Township Committee created a Sewerage Authority on October 7, 1957 . Without the Municipal Authorities Law, the water system would have had to be privately owned or owned by the Township. At the time the debt of the Township precluded them from purchasing the water system. The Sewerage Authority was never activated.
The Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority was organized on February 24, 1958 . The Authority consists of five (5) citizens of the Township who are appointed by the local governing body to serve staggered five (5) year terms. This Authority was the first body in the State formed under the new law.
The three (3) members of the Township Committee, viz: Quentin M. Walton, Mayor; Thomas Buzby; and Malcolm Kennedy appointed themselves as the original members along with J. Creswell Stuart, who served as the first Chairman and George Dohrmann, who served as the first Secretary/Treasurer. Additionally, B. Harold Wills was appointed as the first Consulting Engineer and Sidney Bookbinder was appointed as the first Solicitor.
The first official act of the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority in 1958 was to lease the water and sewer systems from Resource Development Corporation (Levitt & Sons). This action began the growth of Willingboro as we know it today. Some events of significance follow.
In January 1959, Quentin M. Walton became the first Executive Director of this growing organization. In 1981 Quentin M. Walton resigned as Executive Director in anticipation of his retirement and Harry F. Killian, who had served as a member of the Authority for four (4) years was chosen as his successor. Upon Harry F. Killian becoming the Authority’s second Executive Director, he held that position, as well as the positions of Secretary and Treasurer for over twenty (20) years until July 1, 2001 when he retired and John T. Barbour became the Authority’s third Executive Director.
In 1964 permanent office facilities were constructed for less than $30,000 on land donated by Levitt & Sons on Charleston Road (then known as Park Road ). A subsequent addition was built in 1969.
In 1965 agreement was reached between the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority and Levitt & Sons to purchase the entire water and sewer system, thereby assuring lower rates than would exist if the system remained as a private business. At the same time the Authority entered into a “System Development Agreement” with Levitt & Sons which provided for the extension of water and sewer service to the Martin’s Beach area and other non-Levitt portions of the Township at no expense to the property owners. It also provided for the construction of an additional well and a second elevated storage tank and further extension and development of the system. The entire system was purchased for about $9 million via a $10.5 million bond issue which yielded an average of 4.25% and would be fully matured in the year 2005. The water and sewer systems are currently valued at more than $56 million.
In 1966 the Authority entered into a forty (40) year contract with the Edgewater Park Sewerage Authority to process their sewage.
In 1968 the Authority entered into a ten (10) year contract with the Township of Westampton to provide water and sewerage service to the Rancocas section and other delineated service areas of Westampton Township . It was renewed in 1978, and in 1988 for another ten (10 years).
In 1975 the newest well (Well #6) was added to the system at a cost of $838,573.00 paid out of the Improvement Fund. This prevented an increase in the indebtedness of the Authority. Well #6 is a small, self contained treatment plant which feeds directly into the system.
In 1977 the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority entered into a “201 Study Commission” formally called the Upper Rancocas Sewerage Study Commission (URANCO). The study area included Willingboro, Edgewater Park , Beverly , Delanco, and portions of Westampton. The Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority was designated as the Lead Agency. URANCO as it was structured consisted of five (5) representatives from Willingboro Township; two (2) representatives from Edgewater Park; and one (1) member each from Beverly and Westampton. Delanco had opted not to be a participating member in this study. This study was 75% federally funded and was conducted under the auspices of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
In 1982, the Upper Rancocas Creek Sewerage Study Commission completed its work, approving a Resolution recommending the approval of Camp, Dresser & McKee’s Engineering report and terminated itself effective 31 December 1982 .
Also, in 1982, when Quentin M. Walton retired completely from employment with the Authority, then current Executive Director Harry F. Killian also assumed the additional duties of Treasurer and Purchasing Agent.
In 1983, Hovnanian Builders began construction of the “Rolling Hills’ development in Westampton Township which would increase the connections of the Authority by 208 customers upon completion. This would be the largest increase in customers since Levitt completed construction in Willingboro .
Also in 1983, the Solicitor was directed to begin the necessary court action to rid the 1965 Bond Issue Resolution of its onerous provisions so that additional debt could be incurred.
In 1984, the Authority authorized the first comprehensive sewer cleaning contract to mechanically clean over 200,000 feet of sewer main. The Authority has continued its sewer cleaning program and cleans from 12, 000 to 25,000 linear feet per month. That ongoing cleaning program has resulted in 169,017 linear feet of sewer main being cleaned in 2004 through the end of October. During the comparative period in 2003, the distance cleaned was 232,344 linear feet .
In 1984, Thomas Stubblefield, Vice-Chairman of the Authority died on May 14th.
In 1985 Marilyn Yahraes, Chairman of the Authority died on August 9th.
In 1986 Michael A. Sperry, Sr., Vice-Chairman of the Authority died on April 29th . Also in 1986, a Consent Order of Settlement was negotiated in N.J. Superior Court with the 1965 Bondholders to permit amendment to the 1965 Bond Resolution thereby defeasing the Resolution. On August 7th, the Authority issued $13,690,000 in 1986 Water and Sewer Revenue Bonds, (Series A in the amount of $5,690.000 to defease the 1965 Issue which had bonds outstanding in the amount of $6,982,000 and Series B in the amount of $8,000,000 for the Upgrade and Expansion of the Pollution Control Plant).
In 1986, the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection issued an Administrator Order that restricted the water withdrawal from the Potomac-Magothy-Raritan aquifer, which is the sole source for the Willingboro and Mount Laurel Municipal Utilities Authorities. The practical effect of this Order was to prohibit Mount Laurel from pumping more than 65% of the water they pumped in 1983. It also restricted Willingboro to pumping no more water than Willingboro pumped in 1983. Willingboro, Evesham and Mount Laurel Municipal Utilities Authorities successfully challenged the legality of that Administrative Order and eventually received a reversal thereof by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.
In 1987, Mount Laurel Municipal Utilities Authority and Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority entered into an agreement whereby Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority would sell up to 2,000,000 gallons of water per day to Mount Laurel . All design and construction costs for the installation of an 18″ diameter water main from Rancocas Village to the Mount Laurel water distribution system were paid by the Mount Laurel MUA.
In 1989, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey reversed the action of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and ruled that they (NJDEP) lacked statutory authority to implement the Administrative Order restricting water withdrawals in Critical Area #2.
After this ruling Willingboro, Evesham and Mount Laurel Municipal Utilities Authorities entered into a five (5) year agreement whereby Willingboro would sell them up to 5,000,000 gallons of water per day, for a total maximum annual sale not to exceed 251.562 million gallons of water per year, subject to Willingboro supplying the needs of Willingboro’s residents and direct customers first.
In response to the decision of the Appellate Division, The Water Supply Management Act, NJSA 58: 1A-1 et seq., was amended in 1993 to allow for the establishment of a Water Supply Critical Area No. 2 for the Patomic-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer System. Pursuant to that Statutory enactment, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 1995 promulgated the Water Supply Allocation Rules, NJAC 7: 19-1.1 et seq.
The Water Supply Management Act, NJSA 58: 1A-1 et seq., statutory enactment and the subsequent Water Supply Allocation Rules, NJAC 7: 19-1.1 et seq., specifically provided for the recognition and honoring of agreements such as that into which Willingboro, Mount Laurel and Evesham had entered. Willingboro, Mount Laurel and Evesham continued to implement the provisions of their agreement and afterward water was transferred in accordance with that contract from 1993 onwards. Eventually, in February 2004 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection amended the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority’s Water Allocation Permit to the level of 1999.243 million gallons per year of water allocation to recognize the incorporation of the water entitlement and transfer provisions of the stature and rules with respect to the Willingboro, Mount Laurel and Evesham water supply contract.
In 1990, the Authority created its own System Repair Crew due to the significant increase in numbers and frequency of water main breaks.
Also, in 1990 additional Bonds were issued being Series C in the amount of $5,000,000 to complete the Upgrade and Expansion of the Pollution Control Plant and to begin the systematic Rehabilitation of Water Mains.
In 1991, the Authority refinanced a portion of the 1986 Bonds to take advantage of significantly lower interest rates which saved its customers more than $200,000 during the life of the Issue.
In 1992 Township Council amended the Ordinance creating the WMUA to provide for the appointment of Alternate members.
Also in 1992 Delanco Sewerage Authority approached the WMUA about the possibility of transmitting Wastewater from Delanco for treatment by the WMUA. The WMUA authorized the Consulting Engineer to conduct a feasibility study which was financed by the Delanco Sewerage Authority.
In 1992 the then Executive Director, Harry F. Killian, was elected President of New Jersey Association of Environmental Authorities.
In 1993 the Pollution Control Plant was upgraded and expansion was completed. An Open House for the community which including area elected officials and other dignitaries was held with J. Cresswell Stuart, first Chairman of the Authority raising the flag over the new facility.
In 1994 the Authority issued $9,410,000 Series E Water & Sewer Revenue Bonds to advance refund 1986 Series A Bonds and 1990 Series C Bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates thereby reducing debt service over the life of the Bonds and also to provide $1,000,000 for Water Main Replacement in Pennypacker, Millbrook and Hawthorne Parks. The final principal installment with respect to these bonds was paid on January 1, 2003 .
In 1996 the Authority issued $4,000,000 Series F Water & Sewer Revenue Bonds to fund ongoing capital improvements to the Authority’s water and sewer systems. These bonds contain a final maturity date of January 1, 2008.
In 1998 the Authority issued $9,540,000 Series G Water & Sewer Revenue Bonds to advance refund a portion of the Authority’s 1991 Series D Bonds and to take advantage of lower interest rates thereby reducing the debt service over the life of the Bonds. The final principal installment with respect to these bonds will be paid on January 1, 2018 .
In 2001 the Authority issued $7,425,000 Series H Water Revenue Bonds to fund capital improvements to the Authority’s water system. These bonds contain a final maturity date of January 1, 2021 .
In 2002 the Authority issued $7,605,000 Series I Water & Sewer Revenue Bonds to advance refund portions of the Authority’s 1994 Series D Bonds and 1996 Series F Bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates thereby reducing debt service over the life of the Bonds. The final principal installment with respect to these bonds will be paid on January 1, 2017 .
On July 26, 2002 , subsequent to the completion of his term with the Authority, David Bryant who had served as a Commissioner, Vice-Chairman, and Chairman of the Authority, died .
The remaining principal balance on the combined total of all outstanding bond issues of the Authority as of the beginning of 2006 is $26,45,352.00
Since it’s founding in 1958, the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority has grown and expanded concurrently with the communities that it serves. The duty of serving an ever increasing number of users has necessitated the employment of additional personnel and the broadening of administrative responsibility.
Likewise, the fiscal and budgetary problems which accompany the operation of such a facility have become more numerous and complex with the aforesaid growth and expansion.