Councilman Blasts State for Check Cashing Fee
After withholding about $450,000 from the township for cleanup of a landfill on New Road, South Brunswick was charged a small fee by the state for cutting the reimbursement check.
Township officials are unhappy with the state after being charged a fee for the issuance of a reimbursement check for money owed to South Brunswick after the cleanup of a local landfill.
In 1984, the state pushed for a cleanup of the landfill on New Road, which required the township to put up about $450,000 until the site was cleaned, according to Mayor Frank Gambatese. South Brunswick officials were unaware that the state was still withholding the money from the mid-1980's cleanup project until township administration discovered the error earlier this year.
"Unbeknownst to anybody, that site was determined to be clean by the state two years ago and nobody did anything about it," Gambatese said in a previous interview. "So (Township Manager Bernard Hvozdovic) checked and found out it was deemed clean and sent a letter to the state. Then they informed us that they will be returning about $280,000 to us, so that's nearly a tax point right there."
However, when the township received the first installment of the reimbursement money, the funds included a $230 fee for issuing the check.
"Our township professionals found out the state was holding $450,000 of our money from 1984 and didn't tell us," said Councilman John O'Sullivan during Tuesday’s council meeting. "Then they had the chutzpah to charge us $230 for cutting the check. Maybe this is all legal but give me a break. We should be getting interest on that money."
While the fee was not exorbitant, O'Sullivan said he was in disbelief over the principle that the state would charge South Brunswick for money that was owed to the township.
"The citizens of this township should know they were holding our money, we found out about it, and they charged us for the check," he said. "We all think this is unbelievable. Maybe this will help improve the system in Trenton."
The council expressed plans to send a letter to the state protesting the extra fee.