Athens Review, Athens, Texas

January 4, 2014

AMWA continues lawsuit

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens Municipal Water Authority met on Thursday, and concluded with its lawsuit against the City of Athens still on tap.

After an executive session of more than an hour, the board returned to the meeting room at the Athens City Council Annex, and voted to continue the dispute filed Dec. 10 in 173rd District Court, and to fight efforts by the city to disband the AMWA.

AMWA Board member Joe Whatley read two items to be voted on by the board. The first was that the AMWA contract with Martin Bennett to continue to represent the AMWA in the case, and that he obtain the co-counsel and experts necessary to prepare the case against the city for trial.

The second part was to approve a bond to continue with the process of obtaining a temporary injunction or temporary restraining order that has been filed in the litigation with the City of Athens. There was no discussion on the items which passed by a unanimous vote.

Mayor Jerry Don Vaught and Council member Carol Barton were present at the meeting to watch the proceedings. 

The dispute between the two parties  entered the courts when AMWA filed suit in 173rd District Court on Dec. 10 concerning bills presented to the AMWA, which the authority contends were the responsibility of the city. According to the complaint, AMWA brought the matter to the attention of the city, but AMWA continued to be billed for upkeep, maintenance, operation and repairs of the properties it owns, prompting the suit.

The city responded to the suit on Dec. 23 when the city council voted to disband the AMWA, which had been in existence since 1957, and has included discussion of the matter on its Jan. 8 workshop agenda.