Lawsuit dismissed in MWCD battle

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NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio – The Ohio Supreme Court has dismissed a Massillon woman’s lawsuit filed against the Conservancy Court of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. The lawsuit claimed the court was not created legally by the Ohio General Assembly in 1914.
Two lawsuits. It is the second time this year that a lawsuit filed by N. Kathryn Walker against the Conservancy Court has been dismissed.
In January, visiting Judge H.F. Inderlied Jr. dismissed a case filed by Walker in the Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court that claimed the Conservancy Court violated portions of the state’s open meetings law.
Inderlied ruled that the Conservancy Court of the MWCD is a court of common pleas and is not subject to the Open Meetings Act. That case is currently on appeal.
Majority vote. The Supreme Court case claimed that the Conservancy Court of the MWCD, and all of the state’s conservancy courts that oversee conservancy districts, did not receive the proper majority vote when the laws governing conservancy districts were approved by the Ohio General Assembly in 1914.
There are an estimated 20 conservancy districts in operation in the state of Ohio.
Walker’s suit requested that the Ohio Supreme Court halt an assessment by the MWCD that will begin in 2008 until her case could be heard.
Assessment. Earlier this year, the MWCD board of directors approved a plan of maintenance and major rehabilitation of the aging infrastructure of reservoirs and dams that reduces flooding and conserves water for public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed.
The $210 million plan will be funded by an assessment of property owners in the 18-county watershed beginning next year.

Related coverage:

Assessment approved in MWCD (9-6-2007)

Ohio bill targets conservancy district (3-29-2007)

Conservancy district gets extra loan to enact plan in Muskingum River Basin (12-21-2006)

Watershed fee delayed at least a year (6/29/2006)

Error in MWCD assessment estimates (3/30/2006)

MWCD residents are still angry about proposed assessment in watershed (2/23/2006)

MWCD presents assessment method at public hearing (2/23/3006)

Muskingum Watershed assessment talks continue (2/9/2006)

Area residents say watershed district’s plan still vague (8/25/2005)

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