Sister Bay Considering Lawsuit Over Wastewater Plant Ownership

A dispute over the ownership of the Sister Bay wastewater plant could find its way into the court system. The Sister Bay Village Board has begun the process to file a lawsuit against the Town of Liberty Grove in regard to the ownership issue. According to information supplied by the Village of Sister Bay, the village, town and the DNR worked cooperatively to pursue grant funding for the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant, portions of which are still operational today. The village has always asserted that it owns the plant, based on numerous meetings and exchanges of proposals between the town and village before the facility was constructed. Later the two sides reached an agreement indicating that the town owned the plant’s “capacity”, but not ownership of physical assets. The first intergovernmental agreement expired in 2008 and, three years later, a negotiating committee was created to pursue an update. While a successor agreement was okayed in 2013, it did not definitively address the ownership issue. Since that time, the village and town have considered the ownership matter on multiple occasions, but the impasse continues. The village says the town is not negotiating in “good faith” and has directed its attorney, Randy Nesbitt, to file a “notice of claim,” the first step in the lawsuit process intended to provide a declaratory judgment.

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