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by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

The Platte City Public Works Committee is considering a request from James Farley to pay for work done to repair water lines in his office building after the city replaced a water meter near Third Street.

Farley this week told The Landmark--and the city--he will pursue legal action if the city doesn’t reimburse him the requested amount.

Farley made the request after a plumber made repairs to the plumbing in his building totaling more than $1,900 to fix issues after city crews repaired a water leak in a line along Third Street in early January. The water line serves Farley's Law Office and The Landmark Newspaper buiding.

According to Leonard Hendricks, public works director, sometimes when city crews repair a water line there are mineral deposits in a building's pipes which break loose and clog the line. The Landmark, with similar galvanized lines as those found in Farley’s building, experienced considerable noise in its plumbing for a few days after the city’s repairs. The excessive noise was apparently caused by partial obstruction in the lines, presumably from mineral deposits. The city was notified, and Hendricks was able to resolve the issue by closing and then reopening a water valve, which cleared the line without the need for any indoor repairs.

The plumber used by Farley, Edlin Plumbing, fixed the clogs by replacing a faucet and stool in the downstairs bathroom as well as a faucet in the kitchen. An additional faucet and stool were fixed in the upstairs bathroom. In addition, some galvanized piping leading to the upstairs was replaced.

Hendricks said the city had paid $480 after requesting a bill from Edlin Plumbing for the city's portion of the repair.

According to a letter submitted by Farley, he is requesting the city pay an additional $500 to cover the cost of repairing the faucet in the kitchen.

Farley states in his letter the galvanized piping was clogged and had to be replaced and he is not asking the city to pay that cost. That cost was a total of $963.85.

Farley said he has paid the full price to the plumber and is requesting the city reimburse him for the $509.72 additional cost. This would mean the city would have covered about $990 of the $1,900 total bill for repairs.

“All of the replaced faucets and the work done on the stools would not have been totally unnecessary had not the city repaired the waterline and allowed the debris to enter into (the) building's water system,” wrote Farley in the letter. “All I am asking is to be paid the amount paid by me that according to Edlin was the result of the city's action. I believe that if you were in my place you would take the same position.”

At the end of his letter, Farley states:

“I hope that we can settle this matter without the necessity of legal action but in the event that we cannot I will file suit against Platte City in Circuit Court for the $509.72, court costs and also for the time lost by me and my legal assistant in dealing with this matter.”

During the meeting, Marsha Clark, alderman, said she thought the city should stop at the amount they have already paid.

“I had a similar problem at one of my rental houses, and there's no fix except to tear out the pipes,” said Andy Stanton, alderman.

Hendricks said he had not seen an itemized bill for the work, nor the letter submitted by Farley. According to Hendricks, the bill the city received listed two faucets and two stools replaced, and that was more than he had agreed to pay, so he requested a bill with only the city’s portion.

Clark then said the city should go ahead and pay the bill because otherwise they would still be arguing about it for several months.

Stanton said the committee had two options: Either table the discussion or not pay for the repairs.

“You went from not paying to paying it--you've gone 180 degrees in a matter of minutes,” said Stanton to Clark.

Stanton then recommended the committee table the issue until the next meeting to give Farley and Edlin Plumbing a chance to come to the meeting to discuss the issue. The committee’s next meeting will be the first Monday of April.

“The first bill sounds high to me,” said Stanton. “If they want money they might want to attend.”

The committee also recommended expanding the city's Capital Improvement Project (CIP) to complete some streets in the Platte Valley Plaza.

According to Jason Metten, the city has the funds to cover the cost because the bids for the CIP came in under budget. The cost of the project is under $450,000 and the city had budgeted $800,000 for the 2009 project.

The project will pave Willow Terrace and Pleasant Hill to Rolling Hills Road as well as the rest of Fox Run Trail, Pleasant Hill and Rolling Hills.



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