Howell mayor: State should investigate solid waste transfer station proposal

HOWELL – Democratic Mayor Theresa Berger, who is seeking a second four-year term, is asking New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal to investigate issues involving a solid waste transfer station a private company wants to construct in Howell.

Berger made her request to Grewal public in an Oct. 13 press release.

Resource Engineering is seeking to have its proposal to establish a solid waste transfer station at 34 Randolph Road, Howell, included in Monmouth County’s Solid Waste Management Plan. The company’s proposal has been at the county level for several years awaiting formal action.

Resource Engineering filed legal action against the all-Republican Monmouth County Board of Freeholders in August, claiming the board has failed to act on its proposal in a timely manner.

Berger and Howell Democratic Councilman John Bonevich are asking Grewal to stop any action or approvals by the freeholders until an investigation into the matter can be completed.

Berger and Bonevich, the two Democrats on the five-person Township Council, claim the establishment of a solid waste transfer station on Randolph Road would have an adverse impact on the community in terms of traffic, noise and pollution.

Berger said she has requested the release of documents related to the proposed facility and claimed the freeholders “are intentionally hiding information” about the project.

“I have no choice but to seek the assistance of the Attorney General to compel the release of what should be public information,” she said.

The principals of Resource Engineering are family members of a former Republican Monmouth County clerk. Berger and Bonevich suggest in their letter to Grewal that “political influence might be at play” in the matter.

Asked for a comment, Howell Republican mayoral candidate Suzanne Brennan said she opposes the establishment of a solid waste transfer station at the Randolph Road location.

“I am personally against the expansion proposed at that location and I deeply respect the residents’ concerns as well, so I will absolutely fight it. It is my understanding, however, that the matter is in litigation and I am not privy to the details of that action,” Brennan told the Tri-Town News.

She questioned the timing of Berger’s request for an investigation into the matter.

“What I do find interesting is that the mayor waited until a few weeks before Election Day to dig into this issue. The timing seems a bit disingenuous. Regardless, I oppose any expansion at the site and if I am elected mayor, I will lead the fight on this and on all matters that impact our town,” Brennan said.

A spokesman in Grewal’s office told the Tri-Town News on Oct. 16 he could not confirm the receipt of a letter from Berger requesting an investigation. The spokesman did not respond to an Oct. 21 email asking if the mayor’s letter had been received.