On Monday city council members, Interim City Administrator Jay Newton and City Attorney Gordon Stull addressed the long-standing “handshake” agreement between the city and BTI Greensburg concerning the sewer line that runs under U.S. 54 and the possible annexation of the land surrounding the John Deere dealership on the west end of town.
“This is not the appropriate way to conduct business,” Newton said. He explained that the deal, which he said had never been brought before council and had never been “officially” agreed upon, was brought to him within two weeks of his employment with the city by a “concerned group.”
BTI constructed a sewer line that connects its building on the south side of U.S. 54 to city lines on the north side of U.S. 54. The line is needed to connect sewer services to the Greensburg Business Park. Essentially, city sewer services pass though private sewer lines between the industrial park and city lines on the other side of the highway.
Newton expressed frustration that an unofficial agreement had been made, off the record, with BTI wherein the city would pay $103,500 to BTI for the cost of the sewer line and the BTI property, in turn, would be annexed by the city.
The city will have to either pay the $103,500 to BTI or build different lines. A number of council members commented that the annexation of BTI would provide the city with additional tax revenue.
“No pun intended,” said Councilwoman Erica Goodman,” but this stinks. It was never brought to council for approval.”
Ultimately all of the city council members voted “to pursue the agreement” which would authorize half of the payment to be paid in 2011 and the remaining half to be paid in 2012.
City attorney Stull and Newton both agreed that a simple contract, in writing, would be required for the agreement and approval would be contingent on quality checks and a “completion of the annexation process.”