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County won't support state intervention in sewer lawsuit
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (April 16, 2009) — Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall told the operations manager for the Pulaski County Sewer District during Thursday’s county commission meeting that he didn’t want to see the county or the state legislature intervene in a pending lawsuit between the sewer district and the city of Waynesville.

The sewer district and the city are involved in a dispute over who can provide sewer service to areas within the city of Waynesville that were outside the city limits when the sewer district was formed two decades ago but have since been annexed into the city. That’s an especially serious problem for Waynesville, which has annexed property in the Buckhorn area including Skyline Cycles and Witmore Farms whose owners want a level of sewer service that the sewer district can’t provide.

“Your attorney called me yesterday about proposed legislation in Jeff City about sewer districts,” Ransdall told Don Theberge, the sewer district’s operations manager.

“Because there is litigation, we don’t want to get into supporting or opposing legislation that could affect the litigation,” Ransdall said. “We’re not going to support enacting a state law that will interfere with a court proceeding. I saw a lot of those coming up in the legislature when I was there.”

Later in the meeting, Lawson Smith, the county’s emergency management coordinator, said area emergency responders have serious concerns about pending legislation before the state senate that would increase the size of a state-reportable fuel spill from 50 to 3,000 gallons and pay only a quarter of the cost to clean up the spill. The result would be that local fire departments might have to pay up to 75 percent of the cost to clean up hazardous fuel spills.

“Going to a 3,000-gallon spill from a 50-gallon spill is a significant difference,” Ransdall acknowledged, and urged Smith and area fire chiefs to contact State Sen. Frank Barnitz, who was scheduled to speak at a Meramec Regional Planning Commission meeting later that evening.

“You might want to take the chief and go down and say I’m at (another meeting) and you’re representing me,” Ransdall said. “If it’s just going to committee now I wouldn’t think it’d be a huge threat, but they’ve attached it to an ag bill so it could get the fast track.”

In other business:

• After agreeing Monday to interview four candidates for a custodian position and interviewing three of the four who arrived for interviews on Thursday, commissioners agreed to hire one of the candidates and announce the candidate’s name on Monday, but allow that candidate to begin work immediately if that’s what the candidate wanted.

• Ransdall noted that applying for grants has used up all the free hours Pulaski County receives each year from the Meramec Regional Planning Commission for various administrative services, and said the county will have to plan to pay MRPC grant writers for additional work.

“Here we are, just starting the second quarter, and we’re already out of hours with MRPC,” Ransdall said.

• Ransdall said applications for a Pulaski County economic developer are due May 15 and said board members of the Pulaski County Growth Alliance hope to have a person hired by July.

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