Trumbull ruling says plaintiffs from Mineral Ridge, Vienna get free sewers
trumbull county lawsuit
A Trumbull County Common Pleas magistrate ruled against county officials in a civil suit filed in 2004 by 34 property owners, who fought being forced to pay for sewer extensions serving their neighborhoods.
The ruling says the property owners are not required to pay the cost of either sewer project because they were not properly notified of it.
Jim Brutz, an assistant county prosecutor who handles legal matters regarding sewers, criticized the ruling and warned that “sanitary sewer construction in Trumbull County will cease to exist” if the ruling is allowed to stand.
Brutz said the ruling will jeopardize future sewer construction because it will prevent the use of reimbursable sewer extensions, which have been used by developers to build 90 percent of the sewer systems in the county.
Atty. Frank Bodor, who filed the suit, said if sanitary sewer construction ceases as a result of the ruling, “it is only because the ... county refuses to follow the statutory basis for doing so under [Ohio law] and not because of the magistrate’s ruling, which upholds existing law.”
After nearly eight years, the matter went to trial July 16, 2012, before Magistrate Beth Anne Aurilio, who issued her decision July 2.
In it, she says Bodor’s clients in the Sable Creek neighborhood in Mineral Ridge and King-Graves areas of Vienna believe they were denied due process by the county when the county participated in sewer projects in their neighborhoods.
The county acts as a “middle man” between the entity that builds the sewer line and the property owners who later tie into it, the magistrate’s decision says.
“The county oversees the project to ensure compliance with installation regulations and also acts as a supervisor to protect the citizens from abusive practices,” it says.
Read more in Friday’s Vindicator