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Harrison County Commission drops probe of Salem sewer construct

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

The Harrison County Commission voted Tuesday to drop further investigation into the Salem sewer project.

The commission originally got involved based on complaints from Salem residents who claim their properties were not returned to their original state following the installation of new city sewer lines, said Commissioner Thomas Keeley said.

Commission members made the decision after receiving reports on the project from Terry Schulte, county planning commissioner, and Salem Mayor Linda Fluharty.

"We've done what we should have done and brought it to the attention of the citizens of Salem and the Salem officials," President Roger Diaz said.

Any further action falls within the city's jurisdiction to take care of existing complaints and citizens have the right to legal action if they feel they have been treated unfairly, Keeley said.

Fluharty came to the commission to clear up misconceptions about how the city has handled the project, she said.

"The city of Salem and its government officials have been painted as villains," Fluharty said. "We are the victims of Eastern Steel constructors who submitted a bid that was too low and then tried to make its profit through change orders that the city did not have the funds to pay."

Fluharty said the city has resolved about one-third of residents' claims about property damage and those that are left are minor and will be addressed as the money becomes available.

The commission meets again on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. for a brief session and then will move to the voters' registration office to test the ballot scanning machines.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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