Waynesville councilmen question reason for sewer district settlement delays
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2008 4:42 pm
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Nov. 13, 2008) — Waynesville Councilwoman Twyla Cordry is in an unusual position. Now serving her first term on the Waynesville City Council, she’s also a former member of the Pulaski County Sewer District board and was on the sewer board when it began disputing who should have the right to provide sewer service in areas annexed by Waynesville.
While a sewer board member, Cordry once told her fellow board members that even though Waynesville city officials have the right to annex all the way to Lebanon if they wanted to do so, the sewer district retained the right to provide sewer service to the annexed property or could work out an agreement with cities or another organization that’s able to serve its customers better. The sewer district eventually sued Waynesville when that city extended sewer lines to serve Skyline Cycles in Buckhorn, which is located in disputed territory that was annexed into the Waynesville city limits after the formation of the sewer district. However, Cordry said the sewer district’s current position of demanding the right to serve customers they can’t serve without Waynesville’s help makes little sense.
“I am tired of repeating the same old chapter; we’ve got to get to the end of the book,” Cordry said. “We’ve been dealing with this since 2005; we need to do what is right for the community. It’s something that has got to get taken care of, and let’s get it done.”
Cordry said that rather than moving ahead to negotiate an agreement on what would work best for the city of Waynesville, for the Pulaski County Sewer District, and for the customers of both organizations, efforts to negotiate with the sewer district have been less than effective.
“We worked on an agreement with the sewer board over the last couple of months. We had a couple of breakfast meetings, and we agreed we were going to fast-forward this and get it solved,” Cordry said.
Cordry said negotiation team members from Waynesville thought they’d come to a successful compromise, if not a full resolution of the problems.
“We went over our percentages, what we thought we could take to our board, what they thought they could take to their board. We knew it wouldn’t come back 100 percent what we wanted because these things never do, but we sent our agreement to the sewer district and then we didn’t hear from them,” Cordry said.
That delay went on for two months, Cordry said, until Waynesville City Administrator Bruce Harrill finally decided to ask for a meeting of Waynesville representatives with the sewer board.
“Bruce and I and (water superintendent) Danny Graves went to the October sewer district board meeting, and we got there and found out we weren’t on the agenda, and they had put us into closed session,” Cordry said. “We thought that our agreement would at least be reviewed and sent back perhaps with some minor changes. Instead we got an order for summary judgment to cut off serving sewer to Skyline Honda.”
Cutting off sewer service to an operating business wasn’t something Waynesville city council members wanted to do, though they said they’d do it if sewer board members insisted.
“It just shocked us. We discussed and we discussed, and when we left there they were going to have a special called meeting and would get back with us as soon as they could and give us an agreement they thought we could live with,” Cordry said. “On Oct. 31 they gave us an agreement that was nothing like we had talked about.”
That proposed agreement, Cordry said, would have Waynesville responsible for paying most costs to serve businesses in Buckhorn such as Skyline Cycles which the sewer district would reap major benefits.
“They want us to give them the line they put in for Skyline Honda and finish the lift station,” Cordry said. “I’m not getting it; it’s like everything went totally out the window.”
Cordry said she thinks a major communications breakdown may have occurred and called for a meeting of all members of the city council and sewer board. If that doesn’t happen, Cordry said she’s not sure there are many alternatives left to resolve the dispute without a court fight.