Vote set on sewer suit

LORDSTOWN – Village Council is expected to vote soon on a proposed settlement of a lawsuit in which JFE Consultants, owned by former village engineer James A. Farina, will pay $160,000 for work done on the Eastside Sanitary Sewer Project.

In 2008, the village hired JFE to provide basic construction services required under Phase II of the project.

“We sued JFE for breach and nonperformance of contract,” Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said on Friday. “He countersued, saying that we failed to pay him all of his money.”

The suit and countersuit were filed in 2009.

“This has been in limbo for a long time, until his insurance company became involved,” Hill said. “The judge got us into mediation, and this agreement was negotiated.”

Councilman John McCarthy said he plans to vote for the settlement of the lawsuit.

“If the settlement is approved, I think this will be a good thing for the village,” McCarthy said.

The sewer project initially was estimated to cost $8.2 million to put in about 12 miles of sewer lines. By the time it is complete, costs will be closer to $11 million.

This is one of three lawsuits filed in connection with the Eastside Sanitary Sewer Project.

A lawsuit between the village and Marucci and Gaffney Excavating Co. was settled in 2010 when the village agreed the pay the company $350,219 for cost overruns.

Marucci and Gaffney was hired March 4, 2008, by the village to do the nearly $2.6 million pavement and blacktop work on village streets under which the new sanitary sewers are being placed.

But after changes were made in the course of the construction and at the direction of Farina, who then was the project engineer, Marucci and Gaffney said its fees increased by nearly $530,000.

The third lawsuit is between Trumbull County and the village over its ability to operate an independent sanitary sewer district. When the suit initially was filed, Trumbull officials argued the village was already under the county’s sewer district and having a new one would cause the county to lose revenue.

Hill said the two sides are awaiting court rulings.

In the meantime, the village on Friday tested the force main on Hallock Young Road, which had not provided the recommended pressure to push the effluent through the system.

The successful movement of effluent through the force main affects nearly half of the residents on the Eastside Sewer Project.

“I will not know the results of those tests until Monday,” Hill said.