Jun. 27, 2018 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
By Don Howard
In a surprise move, Plymouth Township officials approved the filing of a second lawsuit against the City of Plymouth in an attempt to recover the unsettled pension financial obligations resulting from the 2010 dissolution of the intergovernmental fire protection agreement.
The action came at the Tuesday, June 26 meeting following a report from Township Attorney Kevin Bennett. Bennett told the board of trustees that a tolling agreement established between the two communities is set to expire Saturday, June 30, and that he had been informed that the Plymouth City Commission members would not vote to approve the settlement until the Monday, July 2 meeting, a lapse of 48 hours. The agreement allowed both parties to waive the right to claim that litigation should be dismissed due to the expiration of a statute of limitations, without any admission of fault, liability or wrongdoing.
Bennett said that if the tolling agreement were allowed to expire the township could be in a position to lose an amount equal to the benefit payments from January 2016 to June 30, 2018, should the city renege on the settlement.
“We’re trying to reserve our rights under the tolling agreement.” Bennett said.
In March, informed sources said it was the deliberate stalling by the current city commissioners and lack of progress toward a settlement that initially created the need for the tolling agreement. At the May 22 board of trustees meeting, Township Supervisor Kurt Heise announced that the city commission had accepted the $1.1 million settlement offer and authorized city attorney, Robert Marzano, to work with Bennett toward drafting final settlement documents. At that time, Heise recommended terminating the tolling agreement. No action was taken by the board members at the meeting and the agreement remained in place.
“The township is doing this to protect our interest under the tolling agreement,” Heise remarked after the Tuesday meeting. “It’s like a bridge.”
Heise said Plymouth Mayor Oliver Wolcott is aware of the lawsuit plan.
According to Heise, if the settlement agreement is ratified by the city commissioners, the city will then cut a check for the $1.1 million on Sept. 4.
The previous township administration filed a five-count lawsuit naming the City of Plymouth as defendant, alleging the city refused to pay the obligation for post-termination health care costs, medical benefits and retirement cost for certain Plymouth Community Fire Department employees who worked from 1995 to 2010, when the joint fire agreement was cancelled.