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Lee County Getting Involved In Sewer Lawsuit

Jan 11, 2012

An organization known as Residents for a Better Richmond has filed a class-action lawsuit in the Iowa District Court for Washington County.

North Lee County Courthouse

The defendants are Washington County, the Washington County Board of Supervisors, and the Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) Commission.

Residents for a Better Richmond consists of landowners in and around the unincorporated communities of Rubio and Richmond in Washington County.

In 2007, Washington County hired RUSS to build and maintain a sewer system for the Richmond area.

The project required RUSS to obtain easements to allow construction to proceed.

It was last October when Washington County sent out a letter that said residents who did not voluntary provide an easement to RUSS could be hit with a $2,000 fee.

Residents for a Better Richmond wants the court to declare the easement fee illegal.

Lee County is connected to the lawsuit because it is a member of RUSS.

Supervisor Ernie Schiller serves on the organization's Board of Directors.

He says RUSS cannot handle a lawsuit.

"We just do not have funds for a lawsuit," says Schiller, "so each county has been assessed $1,000 for the rest of this physical year."

Schiller says the insurance company serving RUSS is not willing to get involved in the lawsuit.

Several Lee County Supervisors expressed concerns about the county's liability in regards to the lawsuit.

Schiller hopes to gather more information and present it during next week's meeting.