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Town gets refund check for waste water equipment

June 05, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - The town of Boonsboro on Tuesday received in the mail a $104,180 refund from the North Dakota company it sued over solar-powered waste water equipment.

The Town Council agreed on June 7, 2000, to purchase the Pond Doctor waste water treatment system for $104,180.

The town says the equipment did not work and cost the municipality money in fines.

The town first asked for a refund in September 2001.

In February, the town filed suit against the company in Washington County Circuit Court alleging breach of warranty and asking for reimbursement for the purchase price. The warranty agreement prevents the town from asking for additional money such as that paid out in fines.

An April 22 court judgment ordered payment of the money.

"The town is pleased the judgment has been satisfied," Town Attorney William Wantz said.

During Monday's Boonsboro Town Council meeting Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman said he had received a letter from Pond Doctor President Wayne Ruzicka on May 30 saying the money would arrive within one week.

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"Once we get that we will have a little celebration," Kauffman told the council.

After he heard Tuesday the money had arrived, he said, "I did a couple of somersaults in my office."

"We are very happy to put this to rest. It has been a struggle. We are glad we had a very positive outcome," Kauffman said.

The sales agreement included a one-year limited warranty under which the town would be reimbursed for the purchase price if the equipment failed to satisfy town officials within one year, the suit states.

The solar-powered pond mixers didn't function properly and the town had high algae levels and other biological problems at its lagoon, the suit alleged.

In two letters to the town included in the suit, Ruzicka acknowledged that the equipment didn't work properly in Boonsboro and that the town was due the purchase price but said financial problems would delay reimbursement.

Ruzicka said Tuesday there were "extenuating circumstances" but that he did not want to explain them until first meeting with town officials sometime next week to pick up the equipment.

As for the refund, he said, "I fulfilled my part of the bargain."

Because the solar-powered system didn't work, the town's waste water didn't meet state standards and Boonsboro was ordered to pay fines of $3,500 in 2000 and $3,000 in 2001. The $3,000 fine was later reduced to $500 when the town appealed the matter.

The town has gone back to using electric-powered equipment to treat the waste water. Boonsboro discharges about 280,000 gallons of waste water produced by its 3,500 residents daily.

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