Lisbon car dealer remains frustrated dealing with council

LISBON – A local car dealership is still after Lisbon to cover the cost of restoring sewer service cut off to the business by the village as part of a storm sewer project.

Village Council is requiring Jay and Sue Mullen of the Elkton Auto Corral to pay the cost of reconnecting to the sewer system, which the Mullens believe is unfair since they are not responsible for creating the problem.

“It was a mistake. We’re all human, but it was your mistake,” Mrs. Mullen told council at this week’s meeting.

The Mullens first approached council at its February meeting, telling them that when the village installed a storm sewer system along South Jefferson Street it cut off sewer service to the dealership. The Mullens discovered this after purchasing the closed dealership in August 2012, when the restrooms and drains in the service area began backing up.

Companies hired by the Mullens determined the blockage was in the middle of the street and that the sewer line to the business had been severed when the storm sewer was installed by the contractor hired by council.

Council has reimbursed the Mullens for continuing to bill them for sewer service during this period but has so far refused to take any other action.

The village is concerned because of contamination issues left over from when a gas station was once located on the property where the dealership stands. Some fuel from the underground storage tanks leaked into the ground and sewer lateral lines, and although some remediation has occurred, it has yet to be determined whether any contamination remains. The village is reluctant to consider reconnecting the sewer while the contamination issue remains unresolved.

After the February meeting, Mrs. Mullen said they offered to contribute $3,000 toward the estimated $8,000 cost of reconnecting to the main sewer line, but it was turned down by village Solicitor Virginia Barborak.

At this point, Barborak advised council not to discuss the issue in open session since the Mullens have indicated they may take legal action.

“You didn’t leave me any choice when you told me we had to pay $8,000 to fix your mistake,” she told Barborak, adding they have yet to retain an attorney in the hope something could be worked out.

“There’s no reason to go into executive session because I don’t plan on getting an attorney,” Mrs. Mullen said.

At this point, council went into executive session to discuss the situation and emerged about a half hour later, with Barborak telling Mrs. Mullen she would meet with her the next day.