Tentative Agreement in City - Township Water Sewer Dispute
Thu, 01 Mar 2018 16:08:04 EST

A tentative agreement has been reached in a multi year water - sewer dispute between the City and Township of Alpena.

After one day of court proceedings Tuesday, and marathon negotiation sessions Wednesday and Thursday, both sides reached the working agreement. That document is in the draft stages and expected to be completed by Monday for Alpena City Council consideration.

Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora explained that both sides probably would have never been able to reach agreement without pressure from the judge, the public and having the resources of attorneys and consultants who are top recognized experts in the country. "We probably would have been arguing against the experts", Waligora said, and both parties acted on the recommendations of their experts to come to an agreement. He also credited 26th Circuit Court Judge Mike Mack for facilitating the process.

Some basic working terms of the agreement call for a 10 year deal, which can be reevaluated and adjusted at various intervals. Another element that had an influence was results of a modeling study that showed how much water or sewer used or returned by the township flows through the total city system. That will be used to set rates and be reevaluated in 6 months.

Other working terms include the township paying back a good share of money withheld and put into escrow. Waligora saying a final figure has yet to be determined as several factors to determine the amount includes the number of years, rates charged at various times, and eventually being prorated accordingly.

Tuesday (27), the township notified the court it planned to drop it's 2-million dollar countersuit over true up costs, since data they received from the city through the discovery process was not accurate, and as such was impossible to argue in court.

"Both sides are probably not entirely happy with the outcome, but that may have been the case if the judge would have made a ruling," Waligora said.

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