Grantsville City filed a lawsuit against Tooele County and Deseret Peak Special Service District in 3rd District Court last Friday, alleging a breach of contract in an agreement to provide sewer and water to Deseret Peak Complex and Utah Motorsports Campus.
The lawsuit seeks not less than $1.2 million in total compensatory and punitive damages.
Grantsville City has provided water to Deseret Peak since the two entities signed an agreement in January 2003, according to the lawsuit.
Grantsville City alleged the county failed to complete agreed upon facilities, exceeded its expected water consumption, did not provide sufficient water rights and failed to read meters or bill water users on its properties, the lawsuit said. During this time, Tooele City provided sewer and wastewater services to the recreation complex.
Grantsville City and the county completed a new interlocal agreement in March 2014 in which the city would permanently provide sewer and water services to Deseret Peak Complex, the former Miller Motorsports Park and the former Reckitt Benckiser facility. The county would also entertain an annexation petition. The Tooele County Commission and Grantsville City Council unanimously approved the arrangement.
The 2014 agreement said the current and future water and sewer needs for the complex and racetrack were “best served on a permanent basis by the City through the annexation of the annexation area into the city.” Following annexation, the agreement stated the affected properties would be withdrawn from the Deseret Peak Special Service District.
In November 2014, Grantsville City annexed the agreed upon properties with the certificate of annexation signed by the lieutenant governor.
The agreement called for the transfer of county water rights up to 312 acre-feet of water, or about 101 million gallons, to the city. Under the agreement, the city would install a sewer main along Sheep Lane to connect the Giza lift station.
The lawsuit filed Friday said the county and special service district failed to honor the 2014 agreement on a number of different fronts, including a failure to remove the annexation area from the special service district and not transferring the agreed-upon water facilities and easements. The city also said the county did not provide the necessary deeds, sewer facilities and easements, as well as failed to perform other obligations under the contract.
The lawsuit also said the recent agreements between Tooele County and Tooele City and Stansbury Park Improvement District show “a positive and unequivocal intent to not render performance under the Contract.”
On March 15, the county entered into an agreement to have Tooele City continue providing wastewater and sewer service to Deseret Peak Complex and Utah Motorsports Campus.
The county also approved on March 14 an agreement with Stansbury Park Improvement District to establish the special service district as the regional wastewater provider for northern Tooele Valley. The agreement included providing sewer service to Deseret Peak and Utah Motorsports Campus as justification for the regional sewer network.
Grantsville City’s lawsuit said the county violated the 2014 agreement by issuing the stop work notice on the Sheep Lane sewer line and stopping the city from providing sewer service to the properties. The county and special service district denied the right of the city to perform its contractual obligations “by concealing and misrepresenting its intentions to prevent completion of the Sheep Lane Project”, the lawsuit alleged.
Grantsville City awarded an engineering contract for the Sheep Lane sewer main in March 2014 and a construction contract was awarded in December 2015, according to the lawsuit. Construction on the $280,000 project began in January 2016 but was halted just prior to completion at the request of the county commission.
In a Feb. 3, 2016 letter from Tooele County Attorney Scott Broadhead, the commissioners requested “no connection occur of the new sewer line to the sewer line on the Deseret Peak property without prior approval of the Commissioners.” The letter said the commissioners were concerned about the connection of the sewer lines and a possible disruption to the Deseret Peak facility.
In the lawsuit, the city also seeks payment for the water it has provided to Deseret Peak Complex under the agreement and to require the county to convey water rights sufficient to cover county land and facilities within the annexation area.
Grantsville City also requested an injunction requiring the county to perform its requirements under the 2014 agreement, including connecting to the city’s sewer and wastewater system, while paying city rates for the system. If the court does not order the county to connect to the sewer service, Grantsville City requested the city be allowed to terminate the contract and stop providing water to the recreation complex.
The lawsuit also challenged the Tooele City and Stansbury Park Improvement District agreements on the grounds Grantsville City has the right to control sewage facilities within its boundaries under state law. The properties in the annexation area fall within the city’s boundaries and Grantsville City has not allowed other agencies to provide sewer service.
During a Dec. 21, 2016 meeting, the Grantsville City Council unanimously rejected a disconnection request from the Tooele County Commission to return property to unincorporated status, including Deseret Peak Complex and Utah Motorsports Campus. The county, which submitted the disconnection request last September, could challenge the city’s decision to deny the request in district court.
In a news release issued Monday, Grantsville City outlined the reasoning behind the lawsuit, highlighting the breach of contract and the county entering into competing contracts with Tooele City and SPID.
“Grantsville City has enjoyed a long and cordial relationship with the County, and the City is pleased to have the Deseret Peak Complex as part of our City,” the release said. “The City is committed to providing both water and sewer service to the Complex. We are optimistic we can work out the issues we have regarding public utility service to the Complex, and continue to build the Complex into a world-class facility.”
Requests from the Tooele County Commission on the lawsuit were not returned by press time Tuesday.