POMEROY — The Village of Rutland will be able to complete the sale of the “Old Bus Garage” property to Commerce Street Partners (for the purpose of construction of a Dollar General), according to a settlement in the lawsuit between the village and Meigs County.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement filed on Tuesday and signed by all involved parties, the village may dispose of the Old Bus Garage in any manner it sees fit as long as the disposal or transfer complies with all applicable statutes, regulations, laws and ordinances.
Typically, under Ohio Revised Code, a government entity must advertise public property for sale and accept bids either at auction or by sealed bids for the property.
At Monday evening’s Rutland Village Council meeting Councilman Steve Jenkins addressed the legal way to sell the property after obtaining a legal opinion in the matter.
Jenkins explained to the council he was questioning Rutland’s stance as a chartered or non-chartered village. Jenkins contacted the Board of Elections and they informed him there are no chartered villages in the county, meaning Rutland is a non-chartered village; however, Jenkins explained the Ohio Municipal League (OML) website classified Rutland as a chartered village in the state of Ohio. Jenkins contacted an OML representative and asked for records to show the village was chartered, when the representative responded it was explained that they had made an error. Jenkins researched the differences of chartered and non-chartered villages and was concerned the village may have violated the contract, so he reached out to Scott Solomon, Rutland’s insurance company’s litigator.
Jenkins read Solomon’s response, a portion said, “So long as the village of Rutland has not adopted a charter or ordinance adopting provisions of Chapter 721 of the Ohio Revised Code…the village of Rutland has the authority to dispose of property in good faith with any consideration it deems proper without compliance with chapter 721 of the Ohio Revised Code, that’s as long as the village is acting in good faith in coming to its agreement.”
Other terms of the settlement include that the County is receive a payment of $30,000 once the sale is completed or within 30 days, whichever is earlier. The funds are to be applied to the water and sewer system.
Rutland is to transfer property on New Lima to the county. The property may be utilized in the installation of the new sewer system in the village.
Future restitution payments made in the case of former water and sewer clerk Laura Curtis will go to the county to be applied to the water and sewer system debt.
Rutland shall return Meigs County all personal property that was stored in the Old Bus Garage and that was or is in any way related to water distribution, and collection and treatment, of sanitary sewage. Meigs County may conduct a walk-through inspection to ensure this is completed.
County is to transfer to Rutland the responsibility for paying the electrical service for the Old Bus Garage which had been paid by the county.
The agreement settles a case filed in early 2017 by the county against the village. The county contended that the Old Bus Garage was part of the water and sewer district and should have been deeded to the county as part of the original agreement. The village argued that the property was not part of the water and sewer system and they should be able to do with it as desired.
Ohio Valley Publishing reporter Erin Perkins contributed to this report.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.