BLACKFOOT– The board of trustees came together on Monday to discuss some final issues of the year. They approved the agenda and approved the final septic system construction payment of  $83,884.18.  This was their eighth and final payment on the system.

Now Snake River High School, Junior High, and one more building have finally received their proper hook-ups. The older septics have been destroyed and filled in with sand. This issue has become a part of the Groveland Water and Sewer District (GWSD) lawsuit against the City of Blackfoot. 

The case was filed on September 9, 2019. The complaint and summons occurred after working through mediation and motions for dismissal. The hearing on November 14, was covered in the newspaper, "The lawsuit was brought to the forefront in the spring when new sewer hook-ups outside the city limits were asked to sign a consent to annexation to be allowed to use Blackfoot's sewer service. City attorney Garrett Sandow argued that the annexation agreement has been on the books since 2003 and can in fact request annexation as a condition of new sewer and water hook-ups. Groveland Water and Sewer District disagrees with the city and requested a form of mediation.

The mediation was held in the end of August with both sides trying to create a consensual agreement that would benefit both sides. The main reason for dropping the mediation was that the agreements and contracts were not on the same page. Legal documentation and consent on the annexations was not communicated well and it was decided the mediation was a wash. Both sides brought their issues in front of a Bingham County Judge. 

City of Blackfoot called for a dismissal of the case due to issues with the entire case in general. Groveland fought back against the issuing of a dismissal by stating cases that they deemed pertinent to their argument. Both sides argued eloquently and brought up their viewpoints to help the future of the citizens of Bingham County. The different ways to annex the area were also brought up. Even though each type of annexation has positive aspects, not only saving money on services, there are issues on how the annexation can occur. Taxation rates were also an issue for annexation of properties. Each side was given time to voice their concerns. The final ruling will be made by Judge Simpson and will be submitted to both sides in written form." 

It takes on average, one month for a summary judgement to be sent to the parties. The GWSD received their report within the last two days. The judgment was given by Judge Simpson, in the partial summary there is some interesting information given, "The Idaho Supreme Court makes clear that section….has no application to the provision of water and sewer services to properties lying outside the city limits. To find otherwise would be to allow two municipalities exercising the same or essentially similar powers within the same territory at the same time." 

"Since GWSD prevails upon its claims (save for the amount of damages, if any, caused by the city's anticipatory breach of the agreement) its requested injunction restraining the city from conditioning its approval of connections to GWSD's sewer system upon signing a petition for annexation to the city shall be granted. Furthermore, GWSD is entitled to summary judgement on its request for a declaration that the city's petition for annexation requirement of GWSD patrons violates Idaho code 42-3212. GWSD is also entitled to a finding that the city violated the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by violating, nullifying, or significantly impairing a benefit of the agreement by barring approval of connection permits to GWSD patrons signed a petition for annexation."

Marc Payne was excited by the ruling and is looking forward to making sure people in the area are taken care of through GWSD. 

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