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Lanesville alleges Edwardsville Water overcharging thousands of dollars

Lanesville has filed suit against Edwardsville Water Corp. alleging a breach of contract that could cost the town hundreds of thousands of dollars, town attorney Gordon Ingle said.
Ingle helped negotiate the contract with Edwardsville in 1995 and asked the board to hire outside counsel in the lawsuit because of the likelihood that he would be considered a material witness.
The 1995 contract obligates Lanesville to pay $2,965 per month to compensate Edwardsville for monies borrowed to finance the construction of a water line used to pipe drinking water to Lanesville.
That fee was to be a capital improvement charge and not subject to rate increases, Ingle said. However, in 1998, under the advice of an auditor and without consulting Lanesville, the payment was converted to a utility charge and the rate was increased.
Lanesville continued to pay, though the town did object to that increase and a second increase, Ingle said, adding that the payments have reached about $3,600 monthly.
He said action wasn’t taken in part because Ingle left Lanesville to serve as Harrison County Attorney from 1997 through 2000 and because the town was hoping to reach an agreement through discussion.
‘Obviously, that didn’t work,’ Ingle said.
Attorney Mike Gillenwater of Jeffersonville, who is representing Lanesville in the suit, said he was bumped from the water company’s June agenda and told he probably wouldn’t be heard until August, Ingle reported at the June meeting of Lanesville’s town council.
The suit says, ‘because Edwardsville is in a position to restrict or cut off Lanesville’s water supply, Lanesville has, under duress, begun making overpayments on the finance charge in order to continue to receive the water supply contracted for with Edwardsville.’
Ingle said time was of the essence and asked the board for permission to file suit, which they did in Harrison Circuit Court on June 16.
The suit asks Lanesville be granted an amount not to exceed three times its actual losses, and reimbursement for attorney’s fees and other expenses related to the suit.
Claims made in a lawsuit give only one side of an issue. As of yesterday, Edwardsville had not filed a formal response.

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