HUDSON: City Council voted last week to enter into a settlement with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
Under the agreement, residents will pay about $5.05 a month, starting in January, for the sewer district’s stormwater management program.
The settlement resolves issues raised in a lawsuit filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court in 2009 by Summit County and the communities of Hudson, Northfield, Richfield, Sagamore Hills Township and Macedonia.
Hudson Solicitor Todd Hunt said the sewer district unilaterally implemented a program to collect fees for stormwater management, and the suit was filed to determine whether the district had the authority to charge these communities for such services.
Hunt said Hudson also challenged a second issue: whether the city was legally a part of the sewer district.
A corresponding suit was filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court by the sewer district, and the Summit County action was stayed pending rulings from that court.
The Cuyahoga County case went to trial before Judge Thomas J. Porkorny in 2011, and Hudson was found to be a part of the sewer district. The judge also ruled that the sewer district had the authority to charge Hudson residents for stormwater management based on the amount of impermeable surface on each resident’s property.
Hunt said that although an appeal was filed in the Cuyahoga County case, Hudson and the other communities have been working for months to reach a settlement.
The agreement will cost the average residential property owner about $60 a year, to be collected quarterly. Other customers are charged on a separate scale.
The sewer district has agreed not to raise fees by more than 5 percent a year after 2014 through 2021.
Hunt said the sewer district has signed the agreement, and the other communities are in the process of signing. If they all agree and sign, the lawsuits and appeals would be dismissed.
The agreement with Hudson provides that 25 percent of the revenue collected from city residents will be allocated to Hudson for its storm-sewer needs.
The settlement with the sewer district is applicable only to Hudson, Richfield, Sagamore Hills Township, Northfield, Macedonia and Summit County. Several Cleveland-area communities and some nonresidential customers in the Cleveland area are continuing their appeals.
M.A. Ferguson-Rich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.