On Dec. 29, Coweta County deposited $6,945,200 in certified funds in order to buy a stake in the city of Griffin’s water system.
In an earlier interview, Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority General Manager Ellis Cadenhead said the contract the county signed with the city requires the county to purchase 345,000 additional gallons of water per year, even though there has not been any growth in consumers. Furthermore, the price of water has gone up 350 percent since the contract was signed.
Cadenhead said the solution to this problem is for the county to buy into the Griffin water system, enabling it to purchase water at cost.
Spalding County Superior Court Judge Chris Edwards ruled on Feb. 22 that the portion of the contract between Coweta County and the city of Griffin governing possible buy-ins is vague and unenforceable.
According to a report in The (Newnan) Times-Herald, Edwards ruled that the contract does not describe what a proper value should be, nor does it provide anything that could be used to compute a proper value. If he approved a particular price, he said it would constitute the judiciary in effect setting prices for real estate.
Cadenhead said the county is appealing the ruling. He referred more specific questions to the law firm handling the county’s case, Fellows LaBriola. The firm did not wish to comment, citing its policy about not commenting on pending litigation.
The city of Griffin is standing its ground.
“We obviously feel Judge Edwards’ ruling in the case was correct and will continue to defend our position,” said Griffin City Manager Kenny Smith in an e-mail interview.