Village of South Jacksonville – Labor Drive Water Bill Lawsuit Still On the Table

By Benjamin Cox on July 12, 2021 at 7:47am

A lawsuit between the Village of South Jacksonville and Labor Drive has still not been resolved as of Friday.

A resolution offer that was supposedly entered by previous Village President Harry Jennings has been taken off the table according to current Mayor Tyson Manker.

Manker says that the offer that included a $100,000 credit to Labor Drive for water bills has been scrapped: “I was able to meet with the plaintiffs and speak with them about some of their allegations, and what I can say at this point is that I ended the $100,000 credit that the previous settlement proposed to give the plaintiffs. I think it’s ludicrous, and insane, and not based on any fact. It was just a random, arbitrary number that was pulled out of thin air in the hopes that this would go away. What I can say is that I am fighting tooth & nail to minimize the liability to the Village of South Jacksonville.”

Manker says he doesn’t believe the village did anything wrong in the case and that there were miscalculations done on behalf of the plaintiffs. He hopes the claims will soon be extinguished. Manker says the current billing has been straightened out with Labor Drive: “We have gotten all of our billing straightened out from the problems of the past. The problem, however, was that over the last 5 years, the people of South Jacksonville saw their water rates raised a number of times and they were never told why. Well, they were raised to subsidize the costs of the Labor Drive lawsuit. We haven’t bought a new water tower. We haven’t replaced [water or sewer] lines. Service has not improved in any way as a result of those rate hikes.”

Manker says hopefully a resolution is forthcoming so that the village can start investment into those long-term infrastructure pieces mentioned to upgrade municipal water service. The case is next due in Morgan County Circuit Court for a motion on outstanding discovery on July 16th.

According to an agenda posted yesterday, the village will meet in special session tomorrow evening at 7PM. One of the items listed is a discussion about the ongoing litigation with Labor Drive.