By: Jeff Epstein, Editor, Citizens’ Media TV
LUMBERTON, NJ — Lumberton Township Committee, via its special counsel Murray Bevan, claims that the Mt. Holly Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) has been overcharging its residents for “postage and handling,” for seven years. The Township has amended its Local Finance Board complaint against the MUA to reflect the new findings. In addition to correcting the charge moving forward, the township is demanding reimbursement of $70,125.75, plus interest, to disburse among the 3,463 residences in the township currently being served by the MUA. This postage and handling charge is currently being levied against all 7,500 non-Mt. Holly MUA customers (residing in Eastampton, Hainesport, Lumberton, Westampton, and Moorestown), adding up to a total potential overcharge of approximately $150,000.
The complaint stems from a section in the agreement drafted between the MUA and Lumberton in 1987. Although the agreements states that, for specific fees, the MUA may indeed charge non-Mount Holly residents one-and-a-half times that of Mt. Holly residents, for this particular charge, according to the Lumberton solicitor, the one-and-a-half times multiplier does not apply.
Here is the full text of the complaint addendum, which includes the full MUA-Lumberton agreement, as drafted in 1987. On page 7 you’ll find the above section. Here, also, is the letter delivered to the MUA itself.
This postage and handling issue was previously brought up in the town of Hainesport, in an August letter written by Democratic Committee candidates Edie Darnold and Anna Evans. The township acknowledged receipt of the letter in its September 12 meeting, and stated that it is currently being reviewed by its solicitor.
As reported by Citizens’ Media TV on Tuesday, September 12th, the MHMUA may also be potentially overcharging a hundred homes in a single Lumberton neighborhood, for incorrect meter sizes. This incorrect charge may have been in effect for decades, adding up to another $194,000. (As described in the Tuesday article, this figure is an upper bound due to changing rates.)
The next MUA meeting is at 6 PM tonight, September 14, at 37 Washington St, Mt Holly, NJ 08060. Citizens’ Media TV will be livestreaming the event.