NEW PARIS — Steve Smallwood attended the Village of New Paris Council meeting on Monday, March 5, to discuss an issue he claims has been ongoing for several months.
“For the new council members who may not be aware of what is going on here, there is a situation at our house that we’ve been dealing with since June or July. Anyhow, I have some information that I would like to share with everyone tonight. I’m not asking anyone to make a decision tonight, but this is information that I have acquired,” Smallwood stated.
“In the minutes on Dec. 13, there was a motion adopted to relocate the South Spring Street storm sewer, which crosses the Smallwood property. It was stated that they would look to have an engineer examine my property, damage concerns, so on and so forth. To this point, we’ve never had anyone from the engineers office come down and visit. That has been two months. I took it upon myself to go down, I’ve had some correspondence myself with the County Engineer Office.
“I personally went down to meet with them. I met with an engineer down there and I’m going to give you a card with one gentleman’s name on it. He said that he was somewhat familiar with my situation, because he had spoken with a representative of the village. I discussed the situation with him.”
Smallwood told him “this gentleman” told him that he gave the village a recommendation which involved running a new storm line from Lincoln Street which would eventually tie into a main put in years ago.
According to Smallwood, he was told it had been recommended the village repair the damages to the Smallwood property, because the village is obligated to maintain storm sewer service once it has been established for a period of years.
Smallwood had the clerk acknowledge and date the paper which stated all of the information, then he distributed copies of it to council.
“Again, like I said, it is a very unfortunate situation,” Smallwood said.
Council member Luther Conway asked, “So, the problem you’re having is getting the village to fix the tile?”
“Yes, this is hearsay, but I heard they are going to put a stormline in where they should have at least 10 years ago. They’re draining a city block up there down through a 12-inch pipe by my house. It was never designed to hold that sort of water,” Smallwood said. “It is a concrete pipe, tile, over the years it has frozen and has cracks. Now there is a chunk out of it by my house. Up in the backyard, close to where it ties into it, there is additional breakage as well.”
“So the water is flooding the ground and then flooding your basement. I understand,” Conway said.
“I did everything I could around the house to make sure it wasn’t coming from there, before I called the village back in July,” Smallwood said. “Anyone that wants to come down and visit and see, come down and I will show you what the situation is.”
Council member Ralph Dungan said, “To my knowledge, the village has never been proven to be at fault on this. I don’t think anybody has said when the decision was made to use the line that goes through your property.”
“The problem is that the line is the village’s line,” Smallwood responded.
“Part of it is your own personal downspout runoff through your property, also. The city solicitor may be able to get involved in this too. I don’t know where the village’s responsibility is in this. I would like to talk to the gentleman you did, but anyways it is a bad issue and we are trying to work towards a solution towards for everybody,” Dungan said.
“We are going to put in a new storm sewer, which is going to eliminate a lot of the water you’re getting. Now, going back to repairing the damage, I do not know where our responsibility as a village lies.”
Later during the meeting, Dungan said, “At one time some information was given to me about running a sleeve through there and doing repair work. Is that something you would accept?”
Smallwood responded he would accept that, but is afraid it would be extremely expensive. He then laid out the solution he would be interested in.
Council member Mary Jane Thomas said, “I think before we do anything we need to maybe come to an agreement on hiring an engineer and sharing the cost of whatever it takes to find out what the real problem is.”
“I can tell you that it is not the homeowners fault,” Smallwood said. “It is the village’s pipe and it is leaking. They need to fix it and give me access to run my downspouts to the streets.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH