Sandusky city and Erie County officials continue to stave off a civil trial in a lawsuit filed by the city against the county, negotiating through disagreements on pricing and volume of water purchases by the county from the city.
This is good news, we believe: As long as both sides continue to negotiate in good faith it will assist greatly in keeping private attorneys, who would like nothing more than to invoice taxpayers for a long and expensive trial, at bay.
It seems apparent there is a consensus on a volume-driven formula that will set price based on the purchase volume and give both the city and the county opportunity to increase revenue in the future. The agreement could become a model and level the playing field for the cities of Huron and Vermilion, providing a regional approach to benefit all county residents.
The rub, it appears, revolves around whether the county underpaid the city on its contractual obligations in the last couple of years, and how much it might have underpaid.
The important thing to remember, it seems to us, is that Sandusky residents and residents of other cities and townships in the county, all are part of the same group: They are all Erie County taxpayers.
There is a mutual benefit in reaching an agreement.
And there will be a mutual detriment to everyone if it goes to trial: Private attorneys win; taxpayers lose.