HAMILTON, NJ -- After months of dispute between neighboring towns regarding a fair sewer paid by residents of both towns, Hamilton Township filed a lawsuit against Robbinsville Township contending that Robbinsville owes then more than $2.8 million in fees while Robbinsville contends that they have paid all bills received in full.
The lawsuit filed in New Jersey Superior Court seeks immediate compensation for the disputed amount under multiple counts. Allegations against Robbinsville made by Hamilton include breach of contract; unjust enrichment; and breach of covenant of good faith and of fair dealing.
“I will not allow Hamiltonians to subsidize Robbinsville. In June, I made my belief clear that calls for a rate study were simply being used as a stalling tactic. I advised in writing that this ploy ‘would delay Hamiltonians receiving their fair share from Robbinsville for its of our sewer utility.’ Sadly, as summer comes to an end, I have been proven correct as Robbinsville has still not paid its fair share owed to Hamiltonians,” said Mayor Kelly Yaede in a release.
“Our position has been simple, and clear – if 20 percent of sewage entering our system comes from Robbinsville, 20 percent of our system’s cost should be paid by Robbinsville,” Yaede added.
In response to the court filing, Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried said “We gladly welcome the opportunity to get to the facts of this case in a court of law.”
“With Robbinsville’s population growth during just the past few years - with its Town Center, its new residential developments and commercial properties like an Amazon warehouse, it is common sense that their town would not only be producing more sewage, but only fair that their town should be paying more for its increase use of our system,” said Hamilton Township Business Administrator David Kenny.
The lawsuit comes almost a week after Kenny announced at a Tuesday night Township Council meeting that Yaede did not support an independent rate study. On Friday, a video surfaced from a municipal budget subcommittee where a rate study review of the sewer system financial agreement was discussed. The contents of the video are in dispute, as well as whether the video was altered.
Robbinsville Township believes the video shows that Hamilton Township Acting CFO Phillip DelTurco indicated their town’s support of a rate study. However, Mayor Yaede has strongly opposed that interpretation of the meeting.
“The recent tactic by Robbinsville’s Mayor to mislead the public into believing that a ‘rate study’ would look at the distribution of costs now -- when such a study would consider the long-term financing of infrastructure projects 10 years into the future -- was the ‘final straw’,” said Kenny, “This tactic illustrated to us the clear and willful intent of Robbinsville’s Mayor to use any possible excuse to stall paying the $ 2.8 million that they owe to Hamilton Township. This misleading tactic left us no further choice other than seeking to recoup what is rightly owed to Hamiltonians through the courts.”
The contractual agreement over sewer fees was initially put in place in 1976 with only minor changes over the past 40 years. Hamilton Township contends that the residents benefit from the lowest sewer rate in Mercer County.
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