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Neosho city officials vote to cover property damage caused by wa - KOAM TV 7

Neosho city officials vote to cover property damage caused by water main break

Updated May 28, 2014:  The Neosho City Council votes to pay for damages owed to one resident, despite an insurance decision to deny the claim.

The dispute started about three months ago when property owner Dave Crocker says a water line on a hill directly behind his property broke and water damaged the inside of his building.

Crocker asked the city to pay the $5,000 in damages but the city's insurance company denied the claim, saying there was no negligence by the city.

However, in a special meeting Wednesday morning, the Neosho mayor and the city council voted the city should still compensate the owner.

"I think this sends a message here that what we've said from the beginning when we made the financial turnaround of 2009 and 2010 - if you're going to do something in the City of Neosho we want to make sure it's done properly, done right, and done responsibly, and in this case I think the council's vote shows that we felt it met that criteria," says Mayor Richard Davidson.

The money to pay for the damages will come from Neosho's Water and Waste Water Reserves, which is funded by residents paying for their water bills.



Posted May 27, 2014:  Officials in Neosho, Missouri will soon decide if they city should be liable for damages caused by a water line break.  

A property owner says it's clean cut.  The city should compensate him for damages he incurred because of a city-owned utility failing.  The property owner was out of town today, but we talked with him by phone.

Some city officials say it's all about doing what's right.

"I would be quite upset and want something done," says Mayor Richard Davidson.

Those are words that mirror Dave Crocker's, who owns an abandoned business that's now a warehouse.  He says three months ago, a city water main broke on a hill right behind his building.

"There was nothing to divert it from coming into my building, and I got whipped," says Crocker.

Crocker wants close to $5,000 in compensation from the city.

"That's just based on the clean-up itself.  No replacement of sheet rock or insulation or tile or damage to anything that was in the building," says Crocker.

"Some things are very cut and dry.  Other things get a little gray.   In this case, there's no doubt the broken line caused water to come down the hill, flooded his building, caused him damage," says Mayor Davidson.

But the city's insurance company says they won't cover the cost, since there was no negligence.

"The water line wasn't installed incorrectly, it wasn't defective, it wasn't the city's fault that the water line broke," says Mayor Davidson.

"My take on it is, the city hired these guys.  So they can deal with them.  I don't need to deal with them," says Crocker.

Mayor Davidson says, "It's balancing fair and what's right, versus does it set a precedent?"

The city may choose to pay for Crocker's damages using its own city funds.  It's something Mayor Davidson supports.

"On the five years I've been on the council, I've not had something this clear come before us,' says Mayor Davidson.

"It's tax money, we've got to use it for something.  I'd rather be using it for that than for litigating,' says Crocker.

Neosho's city council meets Wednesday morning to decide if the city will cover any, or all, of Crocker's request.  Neosho's mayor says possible compensation would come from Neosho's water and waste reserves, which is funded by residents paying for their water bills.




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