Drouillard Rd. dispute: Lake Twp. to pursue case against Walbridge

Larry Limpf

Lake Township will still pursue legal action against the Village of Walbridge after a judge denied the township’s motion for a summary judgment in its dispute with the village over which entity is responsible for maintaining a section of Drouillard Road.
Mark Hummer, township administrator, said he’s discussed the case with the township trustees and Phil Dombey, township solicitor, and another complaint - one contending breach of contract – will be filed against the village.
“Our opinion is it’s a pretty simple situation. There is a contract in place that was approved by those who had power to approve it years ago. Nothing has changed. There has been no agreement to modify the contract that was entered into years ago,” Hummer said.
Wood County Common Pleas Court Judge Matthew Reger ruled Aug. 20 that the dispute “is not appropriate for resolution by declaratory judgment.”
“The court believes that a breach of contract or similar action would be more appropriate for a full and fair adjudication of plaintiff’s (Lake Township) claims and nothing in this order precludes plaintiff from filing such an action,” he wrote.
Walbridge mayor Ed Kolanko said the village was pleased with the court decision but called the lawsuit a waste of resources.
"We are very happy with the court's favorable ruling to the Village of Walbridge. We are also eager to move forward in a positive manner with the township. We strive for improved communication with all of our neighbors and continue an open door policy to work through these issues rather than waste valuable taxpayer dollars with unproductive lawsuits," he said.
The township contends the village has reneged on a 1977 agreement to maintain the stretch of Drouillard from Cummings Road to the village southern border and in February filed a motion in Wood County Common Pleas Court for summary judgment.
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, village administrator, to the township solicitor says.


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