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Athens hopes to resolve lawsuits over cable, water

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

ATHENS — Athens officials hope to come to terms with cable and water.

On Monday, the City Council plans to approve settlements with Charter Communications and the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority, Mayor Dan Williams said.

The council likely will go into executive session so its attorney, Shane Black, can present settlement terms. Then the council will vote in an open meeting and make those terms public.

Williams said the water authority lawsuit is more definite than the Charter suit, but "we hope to take care of the Charter one, too."

The city's cable battle began in 1999, when Charter bought Falcon Cable.

The city sued Charter, accusing the company of knowingly violating safety codes and withholding financial information.

Charter countersued, but in July 2005, a federal judge rejected most of Charter's claims of discrimination, civil rights violations, breach of contract and breach of franchise agreements.

The case went into mediation this year.

Athens is the defendant in the LCWSA lawsuit.

LCWSA sued Athens in January, saying it is raiding the authority's customers and claiming that the county, not the city, has jurisdiction to run water lines east of Interstate 65.

The contested areas are to the east, where much of the city and county are developing.

Athens responded by saying the county never got the city's permission to install water or sewer lines on city rights-of-way.

That case also went into mediation, with both parties trying to agree on jurisdiction.

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