More waiting for "Donut Hole" residents

PASCO - People living in the donut hole haven't backed off from their fight with Pasco. They're making sure the city dots every "I" and crosses every "T."

And now the city's been tripped up.

It violated the Public Records Act by turning over documents way past the deadline.

Which means pricey fines. Franklin County resident Roger Lenk filed the suit -- claiming Pasco wasn't giving him proper access to what was allowed under the law.

One document was produced five days late -- but the other was delayed more than a year.

Lenk wanted 16 grand in damages.

He'll receive more than ten-thousand -- plus 1,800 directly for his court costs.

In a news release -- Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield said the city is "not pleased" but it respects the opinion of the court and already has new guidelines in place for future records requests.

Coincidentally, the ruling was announced the same day the city went to court on an effort to stop the annexation of the donut hole altogether.
Pasco hoped the suit would be thrown out.
But Lenk and other residents claim Pasco isn't following the rules.

In order to get water service, Franklin County residents were forced to sign a utility agreement with Pasco -- that also gave their approval for annexation.

Pasco called this a voluntary agreement -- but without it -- there'd be no water service.

A judge is now deciding whether Pasco is following proper procedure.
Neighbors have long been fighting for a vote on the matter, and say they're pleased the court is still considering their argument.

"None of the people who bought houses in that little area could get water unless they signed that paper or accepted that the paper existed," said resident Alicia Chabrier.

"The main thing is that the judge was able to hear the whole story. This is the first time the judge was able to read the briefs. She's had an opportunity to hear our presentation - what we think are persuasive arguments for the position the city is taking," said City Attorney Lee Kerr.

A written decision on the hearing is expected later this month.
Because of Thanksgiving, that could be pushed until after the holiday.