The New Jersey Assembly on Tuesday finally scheduled a vote on a $131 million wastewater treatment financing plan, in a move that appears to head off fears of construction and financing delays across the state.
The vote, slated for Monday, comes on a bill introduced last May to fund numerous local water treatment programs with a mix of bonds and federal aid.
It was approved by the Senate in September, but delays created by state budget problems and the November elections put the issue on a back burner in the Assembly, explained Dirk Hofman, executive director of the Wastewater Treatment Trust, which will administer the program.
Some local governments, anticipating speedier passage of the measure, have already accepted bids on their construction plans, counting on proceeds from a $71 million bond deal expected to Dec. 12. The possibility that the Assembly would not have approved the bond sale by then left many municipalities wondering whether they would have to postpone their plans into 1992.
But the Assembly Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the proposal Monday, and legislative sources say authorization from the full Assembly is expected to be pro forma once lawmakers are given the chance to vote next week.
"Everyone's behind it," one Assembly source said.
The only obstacle has been getting the bill on the calendar. The Assembly has not had a full vote on any bill since August, mostly because members have been busy with their re-election campaigns.
In addition to the $71 million in bond proceeds, the program also authorizes spending about $60 million in federal aid. The legislation calls for a total program of $146 million, but one project that would have accounted for $15 million has been canceled, Mr. Hofman said.