The city is working to finalize an interim agreement, which will then be presented to the Benewah County Commissioners, in regards to the portion of the county’s wastewater collection system that connects into the city’s portion. Mayor Tom Carver said he has been working with the city’s attorney, Andy Doman, of Lake City Law, on the agreement, which will need formal approval from both the city and the county. Doman said the agreement is “along the lines” of and “consistent” with what was discussed back in December and provides 120 days extension.
Previously, the city had plans to cease maintenance and repair on the county’s system citing the cost and lack of manpower. The county responded with a letter telling the city they were not prepared to do so and stated they hoped the county would not have to take formal legal action, seeking a court order, to prevent the city from abandoning the operation and maintenance functions of the county’s wastewater collection system.
The interim agreement will serve as a contract between the two entities while Benewah County prepares to take over the operation and maintenance of their portion of the sewer. The temporary agreement will also give the two governing bodies time to craft a new long-term interagency agreement as well. The interim agreement will provide for the city to continue to repair and maintain the system, and bill Benewah County. The city must seek approval for any costs more than $2,500. As part of the interim agreement, the city will bill the county $15 for each customer on the county’s system for costs associated with the treatment of the wastewater coming into the city’s system. Benewah County will take over the administration, including billing, for the county. Previously, the city acted as the county’s agent.