GEORGETOWN — Brown County Rural Water Association’s attempt to file an injunction against Annette Applegate has been pushed back one month.
Following a short hearing at the Brown County Courthouse on Aug. 15, Brown County Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott T. Gusweiler ordered the hearing could not continue at the present time because BCRWA is not in control of Aberdeen’s water operating system yet and because the village needed to be added to the plaintiffs in the complaint as the water system is on Aberdeen village property.
As such, Judge Gusweiler and both the plaintiffs and defense agreed to reschedule the hearing over the motion for a temporary permanent restraining order 12:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15.
Aberdeen Village Council passed a resolution for the village to enter into the complaint on Aug. 18.
In the coming days, plaintiff attorney Stan Purdy will file an amended complaint that includes the village of Aberdeen along with BCRWA as plaintiffs, with Applegate and Louis and Clara Bramel, LLC listed as the defendants.
During the hearing, both Purdy and defense attorney John Estill made opening arguments to Judge Gusweiler. In his remarks, Purdy detailed the history between BCRWA and the village of Aberdeen, and how BCRWA had been in line to purchase the system in 2010 before Aberdeen Village Council overruled them.
Estill responded, however, by stating that the history was irrelevant to the current complaint, and that as of Aug. 15, the contract had not been certified by the Brown County Board of Elections. Kathy Jones, BOE director, confirmed the election results became official on Aug. 18.
Estill also pointed to a number of technicalities why the complaint should have been thrown out of court, including Purdy citing a federal statute instead of a state statute for a case in county court.
“There’s no basis in law, for either the relief sought, particularly the injunction to stop this project, there’s no memorandum filed, there’s no factual basis in affidavit or otherwise, to convene a temporary injunction hearing today, and in fact the notice is insufficient from a due process stand point because we have no idea what basis they rely upon to ask for an injunction, either if they should prevail on merits or get an injunction today,” Estill said.
Purdy responded that he did in fact have a sworn statement from Lowell Allen, president of BCRWA, and that they wanted to file the action sooner rather than later to slow down Applegate’s attempts.
“We felt it was more important to file this action and get this question decided, at least temporarily, than it was to wait until some other time,” Purdy said.
Voters in Aberdeen took to the polls on Aug. 5 to vote on whether to sell their water operating system to BCRWA for $700,000. An overwhelming majority, 296 residents, voted yes to sell the system, approving a contract signed between BCRWA and the village.
Although signed by both parties, the contract must be closed within the next 30 days for it to become official. The closing will be done in private.
Not long after the vote, Applegate decided to move forward with her own plans to distribute water to residents in the Aberdeen Mobile Home Park. With approximately 300 residents in the park, this represents a large portion of BCRWA’s potential customer base that, if successful, would be taken off Aberdeen’s water system.
Applegate owns two wells, constructed recently by the village, and has already contacted Moody’s of Dayton to put the pumps into working order and engineers to determine how best to bring the water across US 52 to the residents of the mobile home park.
In response, BCRWA filed their complaint against Applegate and the mobile home park on Aug. 6 to try and stop her plans to begin construction on the wells.
However, the rescheduling of the hearing means that Applegate can continue with her plans undisturbed by BCRWA or Brown County’s judicial system.