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City officials say they are following the letter of the law

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Dec. 8, 2000
City officials said Thursday that "things change" and they are following the letter of the law with regard to sewage rates for Marion.
Last week Marion Mayor Malcolm Threatt said he was considering legal action after his town's sewage rates were raised from 67 cents per thousand gallons to $2.43 per thousand gallons, the rate assessed to Meridian residents.
Marion officials say they have an agreement with Meridian to treat sewage at the 67-cent price for several more years. Meridian officials say the increase is warranted because it reflects what it costs to treat the waste and because they have an attorney general's opinion stating that a previous council's agreements cannot bind a current one.
Ward 3 Councilman Barbara Henson said the deal was made in good faith at the time.
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith said the city is simply following the letter of the law and isn't concerned about developing a reputation for breaking deals with other entities.
The Meridian City Council made a similar argument earlier this year, when it stopped providing free water to Meridian Community College and the Meridian Public School District.
Smith and Henson said they are unlikely to make any more public comments on the dispute, and referred questions to city attorney Bill Hammack. Hammack could not be reached for comment.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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