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Elmer City will fight Coulee Dam lawsuit


Elmer City hired its own lawyer in response to a threatened lawsuit from the town of Coulee Dam.

The Elmer City Council was unanimous in its decision last Thursday night to oppose a lawsuit by Coulee Dam, which claims it is owed some $55,000 in wastewater treatment charges.

Coulee Dam processes Elmer City’s sewage with the two towns 41 years into a 50-year agreement.

“We don’t owe Coulee Dam any money,” Elmer City Mayor Gail Morin said Thursday, after coming out of an executive session and a phone conversation with the town’s attorney, Scott DeTro, of Okanogan, “they owe us.”

Coulee Dam’s council voted to instruct its attorney, Mick Howe, to prepare a lawsuit to recover what it described as “$55,000 in charges Coulee Dam has billed for processing Elmer City’s sewage.”

In a letter to Elmer City, Howe’s stated that it was Elmer City’s “last chance.” He wrote that he was “in the process of drafting the summons and complaint as directed by the Town of Coulee Dam.”

“It’s in the hands of the attorneys,” Morin stated. “We don’t owe them a thing, they owe us.”

Morin points to capital improvement charges in the disputed bill. “We have never been charged for capital improvements until the last few years,” she said. “It is not in our contract.”

Morin stated that Coulee Dam was trying to charge them about $3,000 for a new pickup purchased recently. “We don’t even own a pickup worth $3,000,” Morin stated.

Elmer City has been disputing portions of the Coulee Dam wastewater treatment bill for months, and explaining why in the process, Morin said.

Elmer City’s wastewater treatment flow accounts for a little over 20 percent of Coulee Dam’s total plant treatment volume.

“We are not in the suing business, but we will protect ourselves,” Morin stated.

Elmer City’s position has been that Coulee Dam has been overcharging Elmer City for years. Elmer City recently sent Coulee Dam a bill for $67,000, in an attempt to recover the alleged overcharging.

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