The Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District has filed notice that it plans to appeal a Dec. 14 court decision that awarded the city of Reynoldsburg the right to supply water and sewer services to two new Reynoldsburg school buildings on Summit Road.

The Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District has filed notice that it plans to appeal a Dec. 14 court decision that awarded the city of Reynoldsburg the right to supply water and sewer services to two new Reynoldsburg school buildings on Summit Road.

The water and sewer district also filed for a temporary injunction to stop construction of the schools but that request was denied Jan. 23 in the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

As a result, city law director Jed Hood said, Reynoldsburg and the school district are moving forward as planned to connect water and sewer lines to the property.

"The judge, after hearing arguments from all three sides, decided that Southwest Licking did not meet their burden and denied their request for an injunction," Hood said.

He said once notice is received from the Fifth District Court of Appeals that an actual appeal has been filed, the city will defend its position that it has the right to supply water and sewer service to the Summit Road site.

"They filed a notice of appeal, but not the actual appeal where they declare the actual errors of the trial court because the transcript has not been prepared yet," Hood said. "And in the meantime, they filed that injunction to stop everything and the court denied that request."

Hood said Licking County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Marcelain's Dec. 14 decision reaffirmed home rule -- that is, since the school site is in Reynoldsburg, the city has the right to provide services to the property.

Ronald S. Rector, general manager for the Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District, said he believes the utility has a strong case to present and that there is enough documentation of similar cases from other counties in Ohio to support the common sense of not having public utilities duplicated.

"Our utilities have been there for 15 years and we have over $4-million invested in water and sewer," Rector said. "With the ruling, if it would stand, the way it is now those would be useless."

Last summer, school officials compared the cost of obtaining water and sewer services from Reynoldsburg and Southwest Licking, and discovered the Southwest Licking fees and rates would cost the district about $1-million more over time.

Rector said Reynoldsburg schools filed the lawsuit as discussions were being conducted with the water and sewer district.

"When this thing all started, we reached out to the school district to talk about it, then we were immediately sued," he said.

The school district filed a lawsuit Aug. 21 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, seeking the right to choose a water and sewer provider for the new schools.

The Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District then countersued in Licking County, saying it had invested millions of dollars to develop sewer and water lines in the area and could not recoup the investment if Reynoldsburg were allowed to serve the schools.

Marcelain ruled on Dec. 14 that the city of Reynoldsburg has a right to supply water and sewer services to land it had annexed.

Ron Strussion, business manager for the school district, said in August the Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District had made no concessions to waive any tap fees.

He said the city of Reynoldsburg offered to waive half the sewer tap fee, which equates to $162,360, and all of the water tap fee, which equals $93,256.

He said the city's water rate is $4.63 per 1,000 gallons and its sewer rate is $5.75 per 1,000 gallons, compared to the Southwest Licking water rate of $4.70 per 1,000 gallons and a sewer fee of $8.98 per 1,000 gallons.