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Buckeye to use county $1.5M loan towards suit

November 9, 2012
Morning Journal News

LISBON - The Buckeye Water District formally agreed to apply the $1.5 million received from Columbiana County commissioners to help pay what it owes East Liverpool.

The BWD voted at its Nov. 2 meeting to officially apply the $1.5 million toward the $5.9 million it agreed to pay East Liverpool to settle the city's lawsuit against the BWD. East Liverpool originally offered to settle for $5.9 million but changed its mind after the BWD came up with the money, saying it wanted at least another $600,000 based on interest the city was owed on the original judgment.

The interest is on the $4.8 million judgment East Liverpool was awarded nearly two years ago after winning a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the BWD after the BWD quit buying water from the city. The interest accrued while the BWD exhausted its appeals.

The BWD agreed in May to borrow the $1.5 million offered by commissioners so it could be applied toward the $5.9 million East Liverpool officials said they would accept at the time to resolve the lawsuit. The rest of the money to pay East Liverpool was in the form of $3.3 million in BWD funds ordered garnished by the court and revenue derived from leasing BWD land for oil and gas development.

A motion has been filed in county Common Pleas Court by the BWD asking the judge to enforce the tentative $5.9 million settlement reached back in May. East Liverpool opposes the motion, and a hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10.

BWD Director Al DeAngelis said the board has agreed to repay commissioners the $1.5 million over five years at 1 percent interest. He said they will only be making interest-only payments of $1,250 per month initially, and commissioners are fine with that as long as the money is repaid at the end of five years.

DeAngelis said they will be able to increase payments over the next several years as the BWD pays off some of its constructions loans and can apply that money to the loan principal.

Until then, the BWD will be able to absorb the payments within their existing budget. "There won't be a rate increase because of this," DeAngelis said.



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