Staff at the Village of McBride say they have discovered the Village hasn’t had a contractual right to use its own sewage treatment lagoon for the past two years, when its agreement with the property owner expired.

The Village’s contract with Northland Properties obliged the Village to get the land surveyed and properly subdivided by 2013 so a new, long-term lease could be signed, explained Kelley Williams, McBride’s Chief Administrative Officer.

But that wasn’t done and a lawyer for Northlands contacted Williams earlier this summer about the lack of legal status on the property, she said.

Since the phone call, the Village has been getting it surveyed and setting the approvals process in motion for a new contract.

The undertaking will cost a little more than $20,000—about $7,000 more than it would have cost had the Village gotten it surveyed by the same engineers who did the layout, because of the expense of bringing in another crew to do the work, Williams estimated.

“I thought this was looked after two full years ago,” she said. “The lease clearly gives direction.”

Former-Mayor Mike Frazier said that the surveying couldn’t have been done back in 2013 because the final phase of the project wouldn’t be finished. He added that the Village had a “handshake agreement” with Northland to extend the timeline. The final phase of the project was completed last year.

“Had the project been completed, the legal survey would have been done,” Frazier said. “You want everything to be just so.”

Former-chief administrative officer Eliana Clements couldn’t be reached for comment by presstime.

But Williams said there wasn’t any handshake agreement, based on her conversations with Northland’s lawyer.

Northland Properties couldn’t be reached for comment by presstime.

Northland has effectively donated the land for the award-winning lagoon project. The short-term agreement that expired in 2013 said the Village would pay the company $1 a year when the long-term, 60-year lease got signed.