A hearing in Livingston County Circuit Court next month will revisit discussions on a settlement in regards to a lawsuit between Brighton Township and a group of residents.

A class action lawsuit was filed against the township by a number of residents who are some of the original users of the municipality’s sewer system and claim they’ve been overcharged in assessment fees for years. A settlement between the parties was negotiated this past January, though township officials maintained the allegations asserted in the lawsuit have no substance. When the proposed settlement was first announced, Township Manager Brian Vick said it doesn’t mean either party is “particularly thrilled” with the outcome.

Since the original negotiation, derailment of the settlement remained a possibility, as some individuals represented in the lawsuit have said they oppose the terms either partially or entirely. Vick says the case recently came before Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Hatty, at which time he afforded those that had objections or comments about the suit to be heard. Vick says Judge Hatty will take the comments from the residents and respective attorneys into consideration and then reconvene August 10th to discuss the matter.

The proposed agreement calls for the township to pay $1.5(m) million from the general fund to a sewer settlement fund for a payout to those represented in the lawsuit. The remaining funds would be used to purchase REU’s, or Residential Equivalent Units, and the loan from the general fund will be forgiven. The township would then sell the REU’s and the profits would go back into the general fund. Bob Potocki, a long-time critic of the township’s handling of the sewer system and one of the individuals represented in the suit, previously said profits from the REU’s that are sold should not go back into the general fund, but returned to original system users.

Potocki earlier this week claimed “the resulting tentative mediated agreement is rigged”, and says “the money is being moved around in a shell game”. (DK)