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Embezzlement Scandal Leads to Utility Bill Changes

Berkheimer Associates hired to collect township water, sewer and trash bills.

Berkheimer Associates has been hired by South Whitehall Township to handle all notices and payments of all township water, sewer and trash collection bills, beginning with the start of the new year.

In a post on the township Website, officials note that the bills will look different and the process for paying bills will be different. Customers will be asked to mail payments to Berkheimer or make payments in person at the township building.

The township hired Berkheimer to collect all utility bills as a result of an audit and an internal review that came in the wake of criminal charges against former Utility Supervisor Nancy A. Tonkin and her husband, William, according to Township Manager Jon Hammer.

The Tonkins allegedly conspired to embezzle more than $850,000 from the township’s water, sewer and refuse/recycling accounts over more than a decade, according to Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin. The criminal case against the Tonkins has not been brought to a resolution.

The township is also making arrangements with National Penn Bank to allow customers to pay their utility bills in person at one of two township branches—though that option will not be available before Feb. 3, according to the township Website.

Water bills and sewer bills for metered-rate customers will be mailed quarterly. Trash bills and sewer bills for flat-rate customers will be mailed annually, with coupons for quarterly payments.

For those who choose to pay trash and flat-rate sewer bills quarterly, Berkheimer will not mail reminders.

Trash bills may also be paid by credit card on the township’s Website, www.southwhitehall.com

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