Havre Daily News
A lawsuit filed against the city of Havre may be dropped if open negotiations between the Havre Landlord's Association and city officials are successful, an association member said Tuesday.
Association vice president Paula Beilke on Monday asked the Havre City Council to consider opening negotiations between the two parties. She said the assocation would drop its lawsuit against the city if those talks are successful.
“We would like to move forward with the Havre landlord issue,” Beilke told Rice.
Rice asked Beilke to have the association's attorney send a proposal to the city. The proposal could then be considered by the City Council's Water and Sewer and Ordinance committees.
Bielke and association president Darwin Zellmer seemed hopeful, but cautious.
“If it's resolved to our satisfaction, we will drop the suit,” Beilke said after the meeting.
Zellmer agreed with Beilke.
In 1997, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring property owners, not renters, to purchase water.
City officials have said that if the policy were not in place, the number of delinquent water accounts may increase and therefore increase water rates for everyone. In 2004, the Havre Landlord Association filed a lawsuit asking that the ordinance be declared unconstitutional and that the city pay damages to landlords.
A trial set for Dec. 12 was vacated and no new trial has been scheduled, according of the state District Court Clerk's Office.