Jackson woman complains to board about repair bill

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A resident of the Fairway Estates neighborhood in Jackson complained to the board of aldermen that homeowners are being made responsible for failed city water line modifications without any notification by the city. But officials said residents are routinely advised of any city actions affecting them.

Joyce Seyer of Mulberry Street said a pressure reducing valve was installed along with a new water meter in her yard four years ago. At the time, she said, the purpose of the changes to her water line was not explained in advance and she argued against the installation, but workers went through with the project. When it failed recently, she said she was told by the city that she had to pay for the repairs, which totaled about $300. Surprised she would have to foot the bill, she said she polled her neighbors, who were also unaware of their financial responsibility for potential failures.

"I think that's a disgrace, that's not Christian," Seyer said.

City administrator Jim Roach said Jackson sends letters and places notices on resident's doors whenever work is being done and that Seyer should have been included in that process.

"I want to see what I was supposed to have gotten." Seyer said. She said if the city had notified her in advance and explained the purpose of the utility work she would have agreed to it, but objected to being subjected to the unexpected expense.

Alderman David Hitt said he did not think the notifications sent four years ago specifically explained that residents would be financially responsible for repairs. He said his home water line had been modified in the same way as Seyer's.

Roach agreed to forward Seyer a copy of the notification and review its details. The water line from the curb to the house is the responsibility of homeowners to repair, if necessary, he said.

Pressure-reducing valves have been installed on more than 1,000 homes over the past few years at no charge, Roach said, to reduce the risk of increased water pressure from improvements to the city's water system causing flooding due to hose failures on such appliances as washing machines and dishwashers. Homeowners have to option to refuse the modification if they desire to, he said, but the valves were intended to provide protection for water customers.

"The pressure is pretty high in the system now, a lot higher than it used to be," Roach said. As a result, all new construction is required to be equipped with protective pressure regulators.

Roach said residents should review the city codes online or at the city library to familiarize themselves with ordinances governing homeowner responsibilities.

Other action

In other business, the city held a public hearing regarding the city's submission of an application for a Community Development Block Grant Program grant for 2012. Leslie Seabaugh, planning assistant for the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission explained the intent of the grant, to provide for infrastructure development in Jackson Industrial Park and the possibility of a company building a facility in the park. No members of the public spoke at the hearing.

In a related motion, board created a city resolution to state Mayor Barbara Lohr's intent "to pursue activities in an attempt to secure funding to assist a local company."

A public hearing was set or 7 p.m. Aug. 20 to consider proposed 2012 parks and recreation, general revenue, cemetery, band and library tax rates. None of the proposed taxes are new and rates are based on property tax valuations, which are provided from the state and county to the city each year. Larry Koenig, assistant city administrator, said the city does not anticipate a significant change compared to the 2011 tax rates.

As part of an ongoing effort to fix problems with rusty water in the Forest Acres subdivision, the city authorized a contract with Triton Lining Technologies LLC of Indianapolis, Ind., and accepted a bid of $205,799.40 for repairs to water lines in that neighborhood.

Roach said construction is anticipated to begin mid-August and will continue through the end of the year.

The board amended the city code regarding alcoholic beverages. According to current ordinances, alcoholic beverages may be consumed during city events only in a confined area.

"This would add a provision that the alcoholic beverage could be taken off premises if left unopened. This is for events involving wineries and home brews that might allow sampling but also want to be able to sell the unopened product for folks to take home," Lohr said by email Monday afternoon.

Alderman Larry Cunningham provided a report on the recent Independence Day celebration in Jackson. Approximately $6,500 was raised for next year's fireworks show, he said. Several city officials said they felt the event had been a success and had received positive public feedback.

"We had a great committee and a lot of good help," Cunningham said.

Jackson will participate in a sales tax holiday Aug. 3 through Aug 5.



Pertinent address:

101 Court St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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