Waynesville Councilman Mike France tells fellow utility committee members that he's frustrated by the Pulaski County Sewer District's lawsuit and lack of negotiation efforts.
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Nov. 13, 2008) — After years of debate and efforts to fight a lawsuit, members of the Waynesville Utility Committee are frustrated and some want to take strong action to get the attention of the Pulaski County Sewer District.
“I think we really need to quit playing. We need to take a hard line because we own the main part of their system,” said Councilman Mike France at Wednesday afternoon’s utility committee meeting.
The sewer district sued the city of Waynesville over the city’s decision to run a sewer line out to Skyline Cycles, a Honda and Yamaha motorcycle dealership that’s now inside the Waynesville city limits. The city’s position is that it can provide sewer service to areas it annexes; the sewer district’s position is that the sewer district has the right to provide sewer service to any residence or business that was outside the Waynesville or St. Robert city limits when the sewer district was formed two decades ago.
While the sewer district has lines in many parts of Cullen Township and a court decision several years ago allowed it to expand into the county’s other five townships, many of the sewer district’s customers have their sewage collected by the sewer district which then pumps it to the Waynesville city sewer treatment plant.
Councilman Ed Conley proposed strong action to get the attention of the sewer district — or at least its customers in places like Hunters Point and Seven Hills.
“Let’s give public notice that as of the first day of December we do not want to be a party to the illegal acts of the sewer system. We can tell them that we’re going to cut them off,” Conley said.
Others urged caution.
“I think we would need to talk to the city council about this,” said City Administrator Bruce Harrill.
Councilwoman Twyla Cordry said cutting off sewer service to hundreds of people would create more problems.
“That’s a nice idea, but I think there is a little bit of a public health issue,” Cordry said.
While Waynesville Utility Committee members didn’t agree to recommend ending sewer service to people who live in areas where the sewer district sends their sewage to Waynesville for treatment, they did agree something must be done soon. Harrill noted that the city has never been able to get an intergovernmental agreement with the sewer district, and such agreements are required by state law to govern the types of services Waynesville is providing to the sewer district.
“The bottom line is we are illegally providing services outside state law,” France said.
“At the last meeting, I specifically asked out attorney if we were acting outside law, and he said we were,” Conley said. “If we can’t get to an agreement, then let’s go ahead and shut them down.”
Cordry said Waynesville negotiators went to the last meeting of the sewer board and asked whether the sewer board members really wanted to have Skyline Cycles lose its sewer service.
“We told them that if they want us to cut that line, we will cut the line, but there will be repercussions. And of course, they said they didn’t want us to do that,” Cordry said.
Cordry said it’s important to get the sewer district to negotiate, and to put those negotiations on a fast track.
“We know we’re not going to get everything we want, and they d___ well better know they aren’t going to get everything they want,” Cordry said. “If they’re not willing to negotiate, hey, baby, let’s go our own ways. We’ve been jacking with this since 2005, and time’s up.”