2013-05-25 / News

Thurston drops lawsuit to focus on new plant

By Scott Rawdon

THURSTON – Village of Thurston officials have dropped a lawsuit filed against the Village of Baltimore.

The lawsuit claimed that Baltimore is interfering with Thurston’s ability to provide public water to customers along Ohio 256 east of Baltimore’s corporation limits.

According to the minutes of Thurston Village Council’s May 8 meeting, Mayor Mary Boring explained wh y she believed dropping the legal action was the prudent move despite believing the conflict still exists.

“The Village of Thurston has spent nearly $10,000 in legal fees defending its water service area along Route 256 between Baltimore and Thurston villages. While we know that this service area is ours only as defined in the current water contract that exists between the two villages, we acknowledge that that contract ends in March of 2014. This area brings in 10 percent of the revenue of our water system, and is worth defending, especially given the fact that we have to install our own water treatment plant.

Boring continued, “(Fast Max service station owner) Mike Wagner never came to this village and asked about our capacity to expand water supply on the properties he wished to develop. He went directly to Baltimore. Baltimore never came to us and discussed Mike’s request, or their plans. They simply pushed forward and installed lines. The Ohio EPA issued Baltimore a citation for not submitting installation or expansion plans to them, yet the EPA later approved their plans after their lines were already in the ground. The judge assigned to the pending litigation denied our request for a temporary restraining order to keep Baltimore from delivering water in our service area.

“It has never been the intention of this council to hinder economic growth in this service area,” said Boring in the minutes. “We have only sought to defend and serve what has been our service area for the last 40 years. However, spending any more thousands of dollars from the water fund in order to do so does not make financial sense. The benefit gained from winning or losing such a law suit by spending thousands of dollars will not justify the amount of money that will be captured in selling water in that area. Unfortunately, ‘fair’ and ‘right’ doesn’t always win in the courts.

Therefore, I am asking for a motion to dismiss, without prejudice, the complaint filed against the Village of Baltimore.”

All council members agreed.

“Baltimore never believed that the lawsuit had any merit, and the dismissal is consistent with that belief,” said Baltimore Administrator Scott Brown. “The dismissal really means nothing for Baltimore other than it does not have to defend against the lawsuit. Development east of Baltimore along Ohio 256 will continue, as enabled by the new waterline.”

“We’re still carrying on with the project to create our own water plant,” said Thurston Clerk- Treasurer Aaron Reedy. Thurston plans to build its own $2.4 million water plant to serve its customers. “It’s still on schedule for completion by the end of the year. We’re waiting for finalized land purchase agreements,” he said.

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