By Sterling McGinn
Pentland Township will see the Village of Newberry in court on April 11 for a final hearing before a trial will begin over the long-contested sewer litigation between the two entities.
That topic was discussed at the March 14 meeting of the Pentland Township Board. Township attorney Craig Rolfe submitted a letter to the board regarding the situation, which Township Clerk Greg Rathje read highlights from at the meeting.
Though there are multiple waste-water-related issues in the litigation, the lawsuit was spurred by billing disputes going back to at least 2017.
The original court filing claims that the Village of Newberry is charging the township users 11.2 percent of what the village claims to be its cost.
“The village has admitted in the depositions under oath, that they agree that Pentland Township is five-percent of the flow at the plant,” explained Rathje. “The village insists on billing us for previous years—11. 2 percent and in the future, a higher percentage of that.”
Pentland Township has not paid a water bill since 2019 because of the unresolved situation.
“Craig reached out to the village’s attorney, to see if there was a last chance to come up with an agreement,” Rathje said. “The village attorney said there was a value in trying.”
Rolfe’s letter recalled that Pentland Township has made several settlement offers to the village, all of which have been rejected without counter or discussion.
“The village position is clear: they only want the money that they think they are due on the bills,” Rathje read from the letter.
The April 11 hearing will be held via Zoom, and will be the last to take place before the issue is brought to trial.
In January of this year, the Village of Newberry filed three motions for summary disposition to end the lawsuit immediately. The judge will rule on those motions in the upcoming hearing.