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Marietta City Council to vote on lawsuit settlement

Kim Nohe, utility administrator, listens while Bill Dauber, director of budget and purchasing, talks about the settlement of the lawsuit against the county on Monday. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

Marietta City Council will vote Thursday on whether to accept the settlement terms in the lawsuit against the Washington County Commission.

Mayor Josh Schlicher and commissioners met in August to reach a tentative agreement.

He said in August that the council voted 10 years ago to move forward with improvements and renovations to the city’s wastewater treatment facility. The signed memo of understanding in 2012 was challenged after county commissioners were told by the county health department there was no health hazard in Devola.

Terms of the agreement were in part that:

¯ The county will pay the city $500,000 upfront.

¯ The remaining $2.8 million will be paid to the City of Marietta directly at 0 percent interest over the next 20 years.

¯ The new intergovernmental agreement will be signed with the city for a term of 40 years, which promises the sewer flow from Devola will be sent to the Marietta sewer plant.

Finance and Taxation Chair Mike Scales said Monday they weren’t changing the terms of the settlement, only a couple of “whereas” paragraphs in the resolution.

He said it shows the council is moving forward with settling the lawsuit.

A paragraph was deleted which stated on Aug. 13, the mayor and commission met to discuss terms to resolve the litigation, and a paragraph was added stating the council desires to consent to and affirm the terms.

Councilwoman-at-large Cassidi Shoaf said if there was 2 percent inflation over the 20 years, the $2.8 million would actually be $2.3 million. She noted the loss due to inflation was more than anticipated. She asked to amend the terms to reflect an interest rate of 1.5 percent instead of 0 percent.

Councilwoman-at-large Susan Boyer said she was satisfied with the terms as long as there was an agreement everyone in the county pays the same rates.

It was also discussed that the county would own the sewer system in Devola and the city would only incur the costs for calibrating the system on Colegate and Muskingum drives.

Bill Dauber, director of budget and purchasing, said there are positive things about the settlement terms.

“There is an initial upfront payment and a revenue stream for the next 20 years,” he said.

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