Attorneys say the St. Clair Township sewer lawsuit may be the quickest way to get rates lowered, and maybe they’re right legally. But this lawsuit is illogical by any reasonable, common-sense standard.
Township residents are protesting having to pay 1.3 times the sewage treatment rates that village residents pay; however, those rates were negotiated and agreed to by their elected representatives. No one held a gun to township officials’ heads to force them to agree to the contract as far as we know. And yet it’s Swansea getting sued, not the township. Swansea Mayor Ken Mueller has a point when he said the residents are suing the wrong people.
It’s also not Swansea’s fault that the township agreed to have their constituents pay an additional $7.34 a month transport fee to maintain the lines when the township already has money collected from constituents that is set aside for that purpose.
The lawsuit’s goal is to quickly lower rates, and maybe it can accomplish what their township elected officials could not. Mueller and the Swansea Village Board may see renegotiating as a better option than a protracted, costly lawsuit. Fairer, also. After all, Mueller said he was “flabbergasted” when the township accepted the current contract’s terms.
Are township officials just terrible negotiators? Or is there still more to this story?