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Possible damage lawsuit put to rest

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

Throughout 2020, the Mountain City Council discussed issues with a malfunctioning water tank on the hill across from Suba’s that caused and continued to cause damage to personal property for up to two years. Officials feared this could end in a lawsuit. During the January 5, 2021 meeting, City Council members announced that repairs should be complete, and Water Collection and Distribution Superintendent Chris Hook confirmed the news.

Alderman Bud Crosswhite headed the discussion from the very beginning and was adamant that the city was “liable” and needed to do something to fix the issue. He feared it might cause mudslides, which would cause even more property damage. According to Crosswhite, who spoke with the property owner on multiple occasions, the owner had time stamped photo and video evidence proving this particular tank caused the damage.

Crosswhite and Former Mayor Parsons agreed that the best course of action was to return the property to its former state. They estimated between $50,000 and $60,000 for repairs and an additional $50,000 to repair affected roads, equaling between $100,000 and $110,000 total. Council members said the funding would be difficult to find, but Parsons reminded them that some grant funds were available to the city.

Mountain City Council members were pleased when their chosen contractor returned with an invoice far cheaper than expected. According to City Recorder Shiela Shaw, Iron Mountain Construction charged $40,050 for the repairs. The final project cost came to $51,150, including the already budgeted Foundations Systems Engineering landslide evaluation and repair recommendations costing $11,100. The City Council added a budget amendment to account for the invoice. These funds will come out of the water plant’s budget, according to Shaw.

“I want to thank Alderman Crosswhite for his diligence in seeing this project through,” said Alderman Lawrence Keeble. “He possibly headed off litigation and probably saved the town some money.”

The Mountain City Council meets the first Tuesday of each month at City Hall, located at 210 South Church Street, at 6:30 p.m. To offset risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings are currently through Zoom. Recordings are available a few days afterward on the city website.