SUTHERLAND — Village officials and the Union Pacific Railroad have resolved a legal battle over Sutherland’s installation of a new sanitary sewer line under the railroad’s tracks last year.
U.P. and Sutherland agreed last month to dismiss the railroad’s appeal of a July 2018 Lincoln County Court ruling granting the village an easement to replace a failing sewer pipe, said Village Board Chairman Tory Copeland.
Village officials sought a 20-foot-wide easement 37 feet west of the old pipe’s route, saying it was necessary to keep from damaging a fiber-optic cable within the old pipe’s easement.
When negotiations with U.P. stalled over details, Sutherland filed condemnation proceedings to gain the new easement and avoid interrupting sewer service south of the tracks.
The railroad last August appealed the county court’s granting of the easement, in part because it deemed the court’s award of $1,000 in compensation to be too small.
U.P.’s appeal didn’t hinder completion of the new sewer line, which began service Sept. 19.
Talks between Sutherland and U.P. continued, and District Judge Michael Piccolo on June 21 accepted a joint motion by both parties to dismiss the appeal.
“After considerable negotiation, we were able to reach a reasonable agreement with the railroad for future access and use of the easement that the village obtained,” Copeland said.
Village officials spent $10,772 for additional legal services in the appeal from Kearney’s Jacobsen Orr law firm. Copeland said Village Attorney Rory Roundtree of Ogallala did not bill Sutherland for his work on the appeal.