Some West Deptford elected officials are hoping the state Attorney General's Office will offer final words on a two-year investigation into possible illegal activity involving township water and sewer services - a probe that brought no criminal charges.
The Attorney General's Office, according to township officials, has declined to take any action following its inquiry into whether some residents - and township employees - received water and sewer services that should have been stopped.
The review by the office, town officials said, followed discrepancies documented in a 2011 township audit.
The audit, which reviewed 581 water-sewer utility reading cards, reported that 230 customers were receiving service that should have been discontinued. Included among those residents were seven township employees, four of whom worked for the water and sewer department.
One water and sewer employee personally completed the utility reading card and was assessed the minimum billing in 2011, according to the audit. Township administrator Brandon Umba said customers are billed quarterly and those who do not pay within 150 days are subject to service shutoff.
In a 2012 letter to the town, the auditor - Holman & Frenia (now known as Holman Frenia Allison) - also raised concerns about "potential fraud," including the possibility that water and sewer employees "allowed commercial accounts to carry large balances in exchange for a personal benefit," listing "car wash" and "restaurant" as examples. Multiple record-keeping issues were also recorded.
"At the very least, we have employees that are not performing their duties by honoring their fiduciary responsibilities," the July 2012 memo stated.
The Attorney General's Office in November informed West Deptford of its decision against filing any charges and returned to the township billing records and other documents subpoenaed in 2012, Umba said.
Umba said he was told that the errors should be corrected "administratively" and there would be no report on the review. The township, he said, has taken steps to better track unpaid bills and is attempting to modernize infrastructure to more accurately obtain usage readings.
A spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, citing policy, declined to confirm or deny the investigation. Town officials revealed its conclusion at a Township Committee meeting last week. Some committee members expressed disappointment that no findings or recommendations were issued.
Mayor Ray Chintall on Tuesday said he was completing a letter to acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman requesting some form of closure.
Chintall, a retired state trooper, said that he understood the attorney general's policy regarding discussing investigations but that many residents expressed concerns about the issue - and the progress of the quiet investigation - during the last two years.
West Deptford, Chintall said, deserves "documentation that some type of investigation was completed - good or bad."