New Garden Township has come out on top in a lawsuit between it and neighboring Avondale Borough.
On June 25, Court of Common Pleas judge Robert Shenkin found in favor of the township in a lawsuit regarding a dedicated sewer line to the shared sewer plant in Avondale Borough.
According to township solicitor Vince Pompo said that the borough filed the suit in 2011 alleging that the township owed the borough for replacing a dedicated sewer line that carries effluent from both New Garden and Avondale.
“The allegation was that, under a provision of our (30-year) sewer agreement that we owed them for the repair cost,” Pompo said.
However, Pompo said the township insisted that the repairs were paid for by a fund established by Wilkinson’s Builders to specifically pay for sewer projects and repairs.
It was also to specifically create the line to reduce infiltration and inflow to the borough, Pompo said.
“The township’s position was, no, this project to replace this line was done by Wilkinson’s using that fund, and that provision of the agreement applied to this project,” Pompo said. “And not a provision that you shared the cost for shared lines.”
In the judgment, Shenkin found that the developers agreed to pay the borough a “sum of money which could be used, inter alia (“among other things”), to pay for the work described.”
It is Pompo’s assertion that the borough still wants monies directly from the township for the project, despite Wilkinson’s footing the bill.
The case eventually went to trial, Pompo said.
“A week after the trial, Judge Shenkin issued an order in which he found 100 percent in favor of the township,” Pompo said. “His position was correct, and we do not owe the borough anything. Wilkinson paid for the entire project; the borough never paid a dime for this project, but they want money from the township.”
Shenkin’s judgment said the borough relied on a portion of the agreement that stated that the two parties shall “the cost of maintaining and/or replacing all parts of the Avondale Collection System used to convey New Garden flows to the (wastewater treatment plant).”
Shenkin found that both parties never intended for that provision to apply to the sewer main replacement, which was part of the work.
“That’s the point of contention,” Pompo said. “What they felt was that, if the township paid the borough, then they could use township money for other projects that they otherwise could have used Wilkinson’s money for.”
Avondale Borough mayor Dottie Howell did not return calls for comment before publication.