Association official berates twp. for lack of notification

Staff Writer

Association official berates twp. for lack of notification BY JANE MEGGITT Staff Writer

Association official berates
twp. for lack of notification
Staff Writer

UPPER FREEHOLD — Township officials should have told the Four Seasons Homeowners Association of a proposed 30.75 percent rate increase in sewer, an association official said.

"The township has made the determination that they do not need to keep us informed of events that affect our pocketbooks," said Paul Goldstein, chairman of the association’s committee on wastewater rate increases, in a letter sent to Four Seasons residents.

Applied Wastewater Management Inc.’s proposed increase will affect 387 homes in the Four Seasons complex, and roughly 90 homes in the neighboring Hovnanian Heritage Green development, he said.

While the township fulfilled its legal responsibility, it still had a moral responsibility to inform the association, Goldstein said in the letter.

"They have taken the position that they may represent the township, but Four Seasons is on its own," he said. "Their position is that if they announce at township meetings that they have received rate increase proposals, they have performed their legal responsibilities. This may be true, but it does not make for representative government."

Consumers Water Company, which services the development, is asking for a 7% rate hike.

Due to the lack of notice, association officials almost missed the first meeting with an administrative judge on the sewer rate increase, said Goldstein.

In addition to posting information on the Web site and including key issues on the agenda at Township Committee meetings, he wants the township to advise any homeowners associations in Upper Freehold directly about important matters pertaining to them.

Municipal Clerk Barbara Bascom said the township posts legal notices in town hall for many groups affecting citizens in the township, puts them on the correspondence section of the Township Committee agenda and posts them on the township’s Web site.

"Mr. Goldstein wants me to notify his group of any notices that would affect his community," she said. "He is asking that I review incoming correspondence and give him personal notice. If I did that for him, I would have to do it for every citizen, homeowners group, management company, etc. And I would have to make the determination of what affects who."

The township "goes the extra mile" when it comes to providing adequate notice, Bascom said.

"Very few people read legal notices," she said. "That is why we post them locally and put them on our Web site and announce them at township meetings. Mr. Goldstein just has to understand that we can’t do everything."

Bascom suggested that the association appoint someone to check legal notices in the papers or on the Web site to be sure the association is aware of anything that may affect it. She said that she was the one, not the township committee, who told Goldstein that she could not be responsible for notifying his group.

Goldstein said he did not realize until last week that only the Four Seasons and Heritage Green developments, along with a few residences on Ellisdale Road, have public water.

He recently moved to the township from Long Island, where he claimed homeowners were always notified of proposed rate increases.

"We have to send someone to the township [municipal building], pay fifty cents and fill out a Freedom of Information Act form," Goldstein said.