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Independence Joins Multi-City Lawsuit Against Sanitation District

The City of Independence has entered a multiple-city lawsuit against Sanitation District 1 after unanimously passing an ordinance at the city council meeting on Monday night.

According to Mayor Chris Reinersman and City Attorney Jack Gatlin, the lawsuit seeks clarification on who is responsible for lateral sewer lines under public right of way and private property.

“This is not a hostile action against SD1,” Reinersman said. “We want to solve this issue and seek clarification.”

According the Reinersman, SD1 has sought that cities enter into an inter-local agreement, where SD1 has a pool of $600,000 for repairs that will be used at the discretion of SD1 for the costly repairs of broken laterals. Otherwise, the city and private citizens are responsible for the cost of the repairs.

Reinersmam said that he has not and will not sign the agreement because he believes it is SD1’s responsibility.

Officially, the ordinance authorizes the city’s law firm to enter the suit, which has also been brought by the cities of Fort Wright and Cold Spring, according to Gatlin.

Also, according to Gatlin, no other Sanitation Districts in Kentucky have these type of issues. In all other Sanitation Districts in Kentucky, the Sanitation Districts are responsible, he said. However, SD1 points out that sewer districts in Florence, Lexington, and Ashland require the property owner to be responsible for the lateral issues on property owned privately.

Other notes:

The city honored a member of the police department’s Explorer program for being the longest-serving member of the program, which is designed for teenagers and young adults to explore the career of public safety and assist the department in events such as the Fourth of July celebration and the Christmas walk, according to Chief of Police Anthony Lucas.

Charles “C.J.” Whittenberger was presented with a plaque by the police chief and mayor at the meeting, honoring his service to the program since the early age of 14. Now in his early 20’s, Whittenberger works at the airport, but has expressed interest in working in the police force, according to Lucas.

“This program really did turn around my life,” Whittenberger said. “I would like the thank all of the police officers and explorers for this honor.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated that the City of Park Hills was also involved in the multi-city lawsuit but that is not accurate. This story has been updated and RCN regrets the error.

Written by Clayton Castle, RCN contributor

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