Updated: Meeting canceled on Homer water, sewer deal with mine
Updated 10:15 a.m. Monday:
Editor's note: This meeting has been canceled. See story here.
HOMER — The village has scheduled a special meeting on Monday night with the intent to vote on a water and sewer agreement with Sunrise Coal.
But Homer Mayor David Lucas said there are still some language issues in the proposed agreement that the attorneys for the coal company and the village could not resolve. Lucas said Friday that he has not been briefed yet on what those language issues are, so he's not sure if they are major or minor.
He said he will be working over the weekend, talking with the village's legal counsel and with village board members individually to see if those issues can either be worked out before the meeting or at the meeting Monday night.
Lucas said if it appears those issues cannot be worked out, then the village will cancel Monday night's meeting and reschedule it, allowing the two sides more time.
Sunrise Coal in Terre Haute, Ind., plans to build its underground Bulldog coal mine southeast of Homer in Vermilion County but has asked Homer to provide treated water and sewer services to the surface operation about 5 miles from the village. The mine company has also asked the village to provide hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated water per day for the mining process, but currently the village is negotiating an agreement for treated water and sewer services only. If an agreement can be reached for those services, the village board will discuss whether it wants to move forward with discussions on a raw water agreement.
Village and coal company officials had hoped the board would vote on the treated water and sewer agreement at its last meeting on Jan. 14, but the two sides spent two hours negotiating some final issues, requiring the attorneys to again rework the draft of the contract.
Ownership of the 5 miles of sewer and water lines has been one sticking issue in recent weeks, but at the Jan. 14 meeting, Sunrise agreed to retain ownership in addition to paying 100 percent of costs of engineering and building the lines. The rate the mine would pay the village for the water and sewer services and under what terms the mine could transfer its agreement with the village to another entity have also been sticking issues.
The special meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday night at the village hall, 500 E. Second St., Homer, and the agenda includes four items.
— Discuss and approve contract with Sunrise Coal for the sale of treated water and sewer services.
— Discuss and pass an ordinance for the sale of treated water and sewer services.
— Give directions to village staff, village attorney, engineer, special legal counsel and any other consultants.
— Reimbursement agreement between the village and Sunrise Coal.
The village has a reimbursement agreement with Sunrise through which the village is being reimbursed by Sunrise for the legal costs associated with the agreement.