The pay up is the $8,700 Russellville says Lewisburg owes as their part of the $46,583 overage to repair the Spa Lake Dam earlier this year. Total repair cost was $146,583 with $100,000 being awarded to the project by the state government.
The dam has suffered leaking issues for years. When Zick took office two years ago, he made the dam repair a priority traveling to Frankfort asking for help financing the project. Zick felt the project was necessary because Logan County's largest employer (Logan Aluminum) was using the lake as it's raw water source.
“If the lake goes Logan Aluminum just might as well,” Zick said.
An agreement was made in 1971 between Lewisburg and Russellville to share ownership and responsibility of the lake. Russellville has an 80 percent share with Lewisburg picking up the 20 percent.
The give up is the deed - which Russellville is now asking for because Lewisburg refuses to pay at this point.
“We are not sure what we owe,” said Lewisburg Attorney James Milam adding, “Until I can evaluate what Lewisburg's obligations are I will continue to advise my clients not to pay it.”
Milam said the bill Lewisburg received was unclear. He said it had charges on it for expensive equipment that Russellville was going to claim ownership to.
“I would be letting the citizens of Lewisburg down if I told them they had to pay knowing they would get no benefit from this equipment,” said Milam.
Zick reminded Whitson in his letter that Lewisburg had an obligation according to all documents and said there was an agreement in 1998 signed by then Mayor of Lewisburg Gwyneth McKinney and then Mayor of Russellville Ken Smith in conjunction with the USDA for repairs to Spa Lake Dam which were then estimated to cost $160,000. Milam said he was not debating the existence of a contract or documents but hasn't seen any yet.
“We can only gather from your reluctance to pay your proper share of the costs for repairs that you are abandoning your claim to 20 percent ownership to Spa Lake,” said Zick in his letter adding, “We would appreciate if you would either pay your obligation or send us the deed to your 20 percent.”
Milam said he was going to advise his clients (the City of Lewisburg) not to turn over the deed.
“At no time did the current administration agree to paying this amount. The project was completed and then Lewisburg was asked to pay its part. That is no way to treat a partner,” said Milam.
Zick said there were many meetings in which Lewisburg could have attended which discussed the project in detail.
Whitson said he did recall one meeting in which he attended but said he wasn't kept up to date on when other meetings were held.
“I am in no way debating the contract and in no way am I trying to elude Lewisburg's responsibilities. I want to make sure this issue stays on topic and the topic for me is the bill itself. No where in the contract does it say Lewisburg is responsible for giving a 20 percent discount to Russellville on tools it won't even be able to use,” said Whitson who added he has no intention of giving up Lewisburg's part of the lake. “I have invited the City of Russellville to our council meetings to explain the bill. They have refused to attend.”
Zick said in his letter to Whitson that representatives of Russellville intended to come to a meeting but said after hearing from Milam, who according to Zick emailed a statement saying, “The fact that an explanation is necessary decreases the likelihood of plausibility” they decide it would serve no useful purpose to attend.