A letter requesting the service came from Jeff Short a few months
ago and has been bandied about at numerous council meetings since
The city previously has performed this service for the prisons
but has changed its policy since the last request. The current
policy does not allow the city to do work on the portions of lines
that do not belong to the city. The change was made to protect the
city from liability for damage either to the private portion of a
sewer line, or if there would be backups into the basement of the
property worked on, and also to protect the city's investment in
equipment. This policy affects private residences and businesses.
A few weeks ago Mayor Beth Davis-Kavelman said that she thinks it
is important to maintain relationships with other government
agencies whenever possible. She proposed that the city attempt to
get an intergovernmental agreement that would relieve the city of
liability and spell out some quid pro quo in services.
Waste water treatment plant and sewers manager Dave Kitzmiller
said that he had heard back from Short. Short said that he and the
warden would be able to sign an intergovernmental agreement. The
state would agree to hold the city harmless if any state property
would be damaged. However, the state would not allow signing an
agreement for any liability for city equipment if it was damaged or
if workers were hurt in the process of doing the work.
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City attorney Bill Bates pointed out that the equipment used for
such projects is expensive and could get broken. For example, the
scope used to televise the line could run into a tree root and
break. Kitzmiller agreed and said that there are other expensive
components that are vulnerable as well. For example, a long section
of hose could get cut, and to replace that could be extremely
Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs said, "I certainly would not want to agree
to this." She said she would not vote for it.
Alderman Buzz Busby agreed, saying, "You already heard from me
about two weeks ago. I haven't changed my mind."
The matter was put on next week's agenda for a possible vote. The
meeting will take place on Tuesday, rather than Monday, due to the
Labor Day holiday.
[By JAN YOUNGQUIST]
Past related article