Alderman lobbies for property work

Published 7:05 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pipes, private property and city rights-of-way were on the tableat Tuesday night’s board of aldermen meeting when Ward Two AldermanTerry Bates once again brought up an area near Alexander JuniorHigh School that needs improved drainage.

Bates said a Ward Two resident with drainage issues in his yardwants the city and county to collaborate to put a 90-foot pipe inon his property to help with the water runoff. The alderman did notidentify the resident nor the address.

Bates told the board the pipe itself would cost the city roughly$2,100 and the county just over $1,080.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“There are two concerns with that: legality and cost,” said MayorLes Bumgarner in response to Bates’ request.

City officials have already told the resident they would be glad togo in and clean out the ditch that is causing the problem. However,the landowner informed them he didn’t want them on his propertyunless they were going to put in a pipe.

Several city officials, including City Attorney Joe Fernald andCity Public Works Director Steve Moreton, went to look at theproblem and said it was definitely on private property. Fernaldsaid that leads to issues of legality.

“You’re talking about going 100 feet into someone’s property and Idon’t think we can do that,” he said. “We can clear the opening tothe pipe, but once you start crossing into people’s property …the audit department would be concerned about using city funds andassets on private property.”

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell said he backs Bates on needing tofix the problem, but that the situation needs to be looked at by anengineer. Fernald agreed.

“This is 30 or 40 feet down below Alexander, at the bottom of abasin, the bottom of a hole, and water is going to find the lowestpoint,” Fernald said. “We’re going to want an engineer to find asolution.”

Bumgarner said other solutions like cleaning the clog need to beresearched first.

“I think the pipe is the last resort, not the first,” hesaid.

Bates then brought up a pipe that was added several years agobetween Avenue A and Avenue B in what used to be Ward Five but isnow Ward Four. While other officials pointed out that it was put inthe city’s right of way, Bates suggested that his ward is beingtreated unfairly.

“I feel like there’s a double standard here,” he said. “I just wantto know that we’re dealing with the people in Ward Two like we dothe people in the rest of the city.”

Bumgarner pointed out that it is not a city practice to put downpipe in people’s yards unless they pay for it.

“Since I’ve been mayor, five or six people have wanted pipe, butI’ve told them all how much it costs and that if they’ll pay for itthe city will put it in,” Bumgarner said, adding that the pipe inquestion was put in almost 40 years ago and that it’s time to cleanit out.

Bumgarner said he would research what can be done on the propertyand seek advice from engineers on what the best solution is.

“No alderman would want something not done in their ward that isdone in another ward,” he said.