Court relief needed in road dispute, twp. argues

Larry Limpf

Court filings continue in the legal battle between the Village of Walbridge and Lake Township over which entity is responsible for maintaining a stretch of Drouillard Road from Cummings Road to the village limits.
The township contends the village has reneged on a 1977 agreement to maintain the section of Drouillard and in February filed a motion in Wood County Common Pleas Court for summary judgment.
The village last month filed for a dismissal of the township motion, acknowledging the agreement but contending the supporting documents provided by the township to the court were not authenticated as required by state law.
“Walbridge acknowledges only that the documents were ‘copies’ and does not admit that they contain undisputed facts,” the village says in its dismissal motion. “Because no hearing was ever held, there is no record on which to base the township’s claims, no depositions were taken, and no interrogatories have been answered.”
The village also argued the case should be dismissed because it is “not a proper subject for declaratory judgment action” and that the signers of the agreement were not authorized to hold the jurisdictions to it in perpetuity.
In a July 11 filing, the township responded with a support memorandum that says declaratory judgment is a suitable remedy.
“A ruling by the court will certainly terminate the uncertainty and controversy which did not exist between the parties until after 40 years of following their agreements, the defendant (Walbridge) unilaterally stopped maintaining the road in question, breaching the agreement and endangering the motoring public,” the township response says. ``There is no question that a real and judiciable controversy exists between the parties and speedy relief is necessary to preserve the rights of plaintiff (Lake Township) and protect the public with respect to snow plowing, pot holes and other road repairs.”
A notarized affidavit signed by the township fiscal officer that states the documents questioned by the village are genuine copies was included with the township response.
The village has until Aug. 8 to reply to the township response.
This past winter, the township submitted an invoice for $116.31 to the village for repairing a pothole in the northbound lane of Drouillard, south of Ayers Road. The village has refused to reimburse the township.
In addition, the township claims it incurred $367 in labor costs and $208 for salt to remove snow between Jan. 12 and 31 of this year.
In April 2018, the village informed the township that the village was going to cease maintaining Drouillard effective June 1 of that year.
“This decision is supported by legal boundaries, taxing and police jurisdictions and the significant demographic changes in Lake Township,” a letter from James Bishop to the township solicitor says.


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