Overview

- Water, Sewer, Stormwater Utility Issues

Water and sewer service, storm water, energy development, land use, and other development issues affect every property owner, real estate developer, industry, city, township, and county in the State of Ohio.

Utility concerns are at the heart of each and every project across the state. We have assisted in the planning and construction of hundreds of water and sewer projects across Ohio. We combine keen insight into applicable rules and regulations with common sense and experience. We develop personalized plans to achieve the best results for our clients. While water and sewer issues are universal, the solutions to every situation are unique. For example, we have negotiated dozens of Development Agreements providing for the extension of water and sewer lines to development sites, including recoupments or credit against tap fees for such extensions. We are equally experienced at negotiating agreements for governmental entities, businesses, or homeowners to tap into and utilize water or sewer services provided by a political subdivision or private provider. We also help businesses and developers find solutions to their water needs.

From initial financing and planning concerns, to design and construction, to daily legislative and contractual needs, rules and regulations, eminent domain, easements, special assessments and all the way through litigation, our firm understands land use and development issues. Unlike others who may dabble in this area of the law, these areas are the focus of our practice and we have achieved numerous successes for our clients.

Some communities believe that combining services will lead to operational and administrative efficiencies and cost savings. Albers and Albers has the experience to facilitate these mergers. Moreover, our competitive rates and available retainer plans are attractive to local governments who need expertise without breaking the bank. When necessary, we are able to draw upon a vast network of professionals in an array of practice areas. We also routinely work with solicitors and county prosecutors wishing to stay involved with these issues.

Most projects require some type of financing, whether it be special assessments, loans and grants from OWDA, OPWC, USDA or EPA. Albers and Albers has developed relationships with these agencies over the years and can help you navigate the many financing options. We will also work with your bond counsel when needed or provide you with suggested bond counsel.

Those clients with USDA Rural Development (Farmers Home Administration) loans receive special protection under 7 U.S.C 1926(b) of the federal code. Conflict over service territory is a common problem. We frequently speak on this topic and routinely provide clarity for communities dealing with these issues. Section 1926(b) is one of the more powerful laws in the country. Eric Luckage has worked at USDA Rural Development and our lawyers offer unparalleled insight into this issue.

Areas of Expertise

We handle water and sewer issues throughout Ohio and have provided political subdivisions, property owners, developers, and industry with sound legal advice and representation in a variety of areas.

With over 30 regional water and sewer districts formed in Ohio, no law firm is more experienced in the formation, administration, and representation of regional districts. Whether a district is needed for one subdivision or several counties, we have probably formed a district similar to your needs. As such, we can quickly and efficiently pull together the information and documents necessary to rapidly achieve the formation of your district. We also know how to educate the judge to help move the process forward with confidence.

Some communities believe that forming a district to combine services with other political subdivisions will lead to operational and administrative efficiencies and cost savings. Albers and Albers has the experience to facilitate these mergers. Moreover, our competitive rates and available retainer plans are attractive to local governments who need expertise without breaking the bank. When necessary, we are able to draw upon a vast network of professionals in an array of practice areas. We also routinely work with solicitors and county prosecutors wishing to stay involved with these issues.

Generally, when communities are wrestling with utility service issues, they want solution options. Because of our extensive experience, we excel at developing those solutions. Frequently, regional districts can be the answer. Conversely, and just as importantly, we recognize when a regional district is NOT the answer and provide better options for that situation. Whether you develop your own water source or contract for the purchase water or sanitary sewer treatment services from a neighboring community, we have unparalleled experience to help you achieve your goals.

Once formed, our representation of the new district continues. Advising the new district board on sunshine laws, project construction and administration needs, eminent domain, easements, special assessments, project financing, professional consultant referral and selection assistance, litigation avoidance, strategic planning, resolution composition and all other day-to-day needs are just some of the services we provide.

Most projects require some type of financing, whether it be special assessments, loans and grants from OWDA, OPWC, USDA or EPA. Albers and Albers has developed relationships with these agencies over the years and can help you navigate the many financing options. We will also work with your bond counsel when needed or provide you with suggested bond counsel.

You may also consider our firm for the following services related to all public water and sewer projects:

  • Tap Agreements
  • Development Agreements
  • Eminent Domain appropriations
  • Engineer selection process
  • Special Assessments
  • Service Disconnection and Bill Collection Procedures
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Environmental Concerns
  • Construction, Engineering, and Purchase Contracts
  • Financing for Planning and Construction
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Easements
  • Public relations assistance
  • Conflicts over Service Areas
  • Competing Interests in Water Resources

Those districts with USDA Rural Development (Farmers Home Administration) loans receive special protection under 7 U.S.C 1926(b) of the federal code. Conflict over service territory is a common problem. We frequently speak on this topic and routinely provide clarity for communities dealing with these issues. Section 1926(b) is one of the more powerful laws in the country. Eric Luckage has worked at USDA Rural Development and our lawyers offer unparalleled insight into this issue.

As with regional water and sewer districts we have more experience than any other firm in the formation and representation of regional storm water districts to address the growing problems associated with storm water flooding and to address EPA Phase II water quality requirements. With increasing development and expanded requirements from the Ohio EPA, local governments are facing more and more storm water issues which require solutions. A lack of funding hampers many community efforts to address these problems. Townships also frequently lack the experience and legal authority to completely fix the problems. Adding to the complexity is the reality that storm water does not respect political boundaries. Regional storm water districts may address the problems either within political boundaries or across several jurisdictions within a watershed.

Whether your concerns are addressing storm water flooding or water quality issues caused by storm water runoff and other Phase II requirements, funding those efforts is never an easy endeavor. Albers and Albers can help you develop a storm water fee structure based on proven methodologies which are fair and proportionate. Nearly every city of any size now must collect some form of fee to support its storm water efforts. Sooner or later, smaller communities realize the need to manage these efforts and develop a source of funding. During these challenging economic times and reduced state funding, local community general funds are stretched to the breaking point. Modest storm water fees (which are not taxes) can go a long way toward accomplishing priority repairs in a fair manner. Albers and Albers can help you not only to work through those solutions, but also to educate the public on the need for such changes.

From strategic planning to district formation and ongoing district representation, Albers and Albers is the law firm which can best provide you with the solutions you seek.

If you are struggling to solve flooding or water quality problems in your community, contact Albers and Albers to see if a storm water district might be right for your community.

Our firm has assisted many counties, villages, cities and townships to address their water, sewer and stormwater problems. Solicitors and county prosecutors frequently do not have experience with these issues and their time constraints sometimes make it difficult to familiarize themselves with these areas of the law.

Some communities believe that combining services with neighboring political subdivisions will lead to operational and administrative efficiencies and cost savings. Albers and Albers has the experience to facilitate these mergers. Moreover, our competitive rates and available retainer plans are attractive to local governments who need expertise without breaking the bank. When necessary, we are able to draw upon a vast network of professionals in an array of practice areas. We also routinely work with solicitors and county prosecutors wishing to stay involved with these issues.

We have helped communities with water well issues, drafting regulations, special assessment projects, easements, eminent domain, intergovernmental agreements and many other issues related to water and sanitary sewer. Other communities implementing a storm water utility program have consulted with us regarding that process as well.

Most projects require some type of financing, whether it be special assessments, loans and grants from OWDA, OPWC, USDA or EPA. Albers and Albers has developed relationships with these agencies over the years and can help you navigate the many financing options. We will also work with your bond counsel when needed or provide you with suggested bond counsel.

Our firm also has extensive experience with the public relations aspects of water, stormwater and sewer projects. While nearly every such project is necessary and important, they are not always popular. We offer practical advice, based on years of experience, public meeting coordination, news release preparation and media and public relations services.

When it comes to water, stormwater, and sanitary sewer issues, Albers and Albers provides an incomparable combination of experience and affordability.

Perhaps the greatest asset of Albers and Albers is our ability to help clients untangle several intertwined issues and develop a plan that solves their problems. Because we have been involved in so many water, stormwater and sewer related situations, we have seen a wide array of conventional and unconventional approaches. We are able to present solutions or help you evaluate your plans.

For smaller communities and districts, it can be challenging to properly plan a project. We help our clients secure planning financing, both through governmental lenders and private banks.

Most projects also require some type of construction financing, whether it be special assessments, loans and grants from OWDA, OPWC, USDA or EPA. Albers and Albers has developed relationships with these agencies over the years and can help you navigate the many financing options. We will also work with your bond counsel when needed or provide you with suggested bond counsel.

The special assessment process is a complicated one and if done improperly, it can be the basis of litigation and grind your project to a halt. Because we have worked on dozens of assessment projects, we understand the process and help you avoid the pitfalls. From drafting resolutions to conducting public meetings, managing appraisal needs and the equalization board hearings, and communicating with the public, Albers and Albers provides the services you need to make your special assessment project a success.

Albers and Albers is also working to pioneer a need alternative financing proposal within the framework of Ohio’s new design-build construction procedure. The new proposal is expected to save time and money for the local government. As we launch this new financing option, we will post additional information on our website.

While we pride ourselves in helping our clients avoid litigation, less cumbersome dispute resolution is not always available. We have a very successful litigation track record and we are the right choice to help guide you through your litigation considerations. Success is borne not only from knowledge and skill, but through practical and honest assessments of a case BEFORE litigation is commenced. Our experience and unique practice areas help us to evaluate whether litigation is the right choice. We will not push litigation as the solution to every problem. We can usually help you find the less expensive option overlooked by others. Our practice areas require unique skills, and few attorneys can provide you with the same level of experience and knowledge to help you achieve the best result possible for your situation.

Those districts with USDA Rural Development (Farmers Home Administration) loans receive special protection under 7 U.S.C 1926(b) of the federal code. Conflict over service territory is a common problem. We frequently speak on this topic and routinely provide clarity for communities dealing with these issues. Section 1926(b) is one of the more powerful laws in the country. Eric Luckage has worked at USDA Rural Development and our lawyers offer unparalleled insight into this issue.