Administration told Bond Rating Agency they “were going to pursue a rate study”
Legendary sportscaster Warner Wolf coined the phrase ” Let’s Go to the Videotape”! Well…..Let’s go to the videotape!
After an announcement by Hamilton Business Administrator David Kenny at the August 20, 2019, Council meeting that there would be no “Rate Study” to settle an ongoing billing dispute between Hamilton and it’s neighboring town Robbinsville, Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede doubled down in two separate news reports that she and her administration never supported a rate study calling it a “stall tactic”.
But a facebook video has surfaced from a public meeting about the 2019 Hamilton Township sewer budget in which David Kenny and temporary Chief Financial Officer Phil Delturco explain that they not only budgeted for the rate study in the current sewer budget, but they informed the “Rating Agency” that issues bonds for long term debt, that they would be pursuing a study and that they were “going to clean up things with our neighbors”, a reference to the ongoing dispute with Robbinsville over billing.
Yaede and her administration have come under attack by critics claiming she has a problem telling the truth and not addressing the public. The video certainly doesn’t help her cause as it clearly shows that everyone was on board with conducting a rate study.
In the video, Councilwoman Ileana Schirmer asks if the current budget could cause “bond rating issues” in which both Kenny and Delturco say the agency has a copy of the budget and they know about the rate study.
Delturco even goes as far to state “that maybe with the rate study we could get a new contract with them”, being Robbinsville Township.
The meeting from the video was a second workshop meeting being held with Township Sewer Director Carrie D. Feuer, P.E after she indicated in the first meeting that the administration had altered her original budget and the council called for a second meeting for clarification and explanation.
In the video, you can clearly hear Councilman Jeff Martin’s exchange with Delturco about everyone being on board with the rate study and Feuer saying that it was “already budgeted”.
Martin also points out and discusses his concern for a possible “shortfall” in the years 2020 and 2021 and saw the rate study as a way to avoid and avert problems in the future.
Kenny then explains he would reach out to them and put out an RFQ or Request for Quote to do the rate study.
A call to Hamilton Township Business Administrator David Kenny for clarification on the video was not returned.
When contacted about the video Robbinsville Mayor David Fried had this to say:
Now I’m certain this entire sewer ordeal is an election year gimmick designed to artificially reduce taxes in Hamilton with November just around the corner, only for that massive budget hole to be filled on the backs of both Hamilton and Robbinsville taxpayers next year.”
The 2018 and 2019 sewer bills that Robbinsville received were dramatically more than previous years to the tune of nearly a million dollars each year.
“The bigger question now is did Hamilton knowingly deceive the rating agency which issues the bonds under the pretense that it was going to conduct this study, did they deceive investors that buy those bonds…….I guess the SEC ( Securities and Exchange Commission) will need to look into that” explained Fried.