Meridian Star

Local News

October 1, 2009

Meridian, Marion let bygones be bygones

Court battle was drawn out over small portion of debt

The City of Meridian and the Town of Marion have ended a long court battle over back sewage fees after both sides decided the amount in dispute just wasn't worth it.

Marion was ordered in 2004 to pay Meridian more than $400,000 for sewage services, but the battle was dragged out by arguments between the two entities over a much smaller amount — $35, 805.85 that Meridian felt Marion owed but Marion felt they did not owe.

"This issue had taken on a life of its own," said Meridian City Attorney Bill Ready. "This was a case that had long run past what it was really about... They were fighting over $35,000 and they had already spent over $50,000 a piece."

Ready said he got the permission of both Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry and Marion Mayor Elvis Hudson to put an end to the battle. After speaking with attorneys for both sides, he asked the judge in the case to allow Meridian to waive the $35,805.85.

City Clerk Ed Skipper said the final check given to Meridian by Marion was $82,237.70.

Skipper said Marion was originally ordered to pay Meridian $405,165.92, which included the principal amount owed plus interest that had accumulated up to that point.

He said he could not say the exact total amount finally paid to Meridian because a continuing accumulation of interest meant the number continually changed.

"I don't have records in that particular way," Skipper said. "There were amounts that were paid by Marion that were amounts of money that could not be specifically applied to a specific bill... and at the same time those balances (to pay off the sewage debt) were being reduced, new interest was being added, so it was a moving thing at that point."

He said Marion paid Meridian the $405,164.92 plus the interest that was accumulated after the judgement was made, but minus, in Meridian's view, $35,805.85.

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