by Alan McArthur
A resolution has been achieved in the recent dispute over the use of unmetered water by the Parkville Vikings Football Club.
On Tuesday, the Parkville Board of Aldermen approved an agreement with the Vikings for the use of property near the city's sewer treatment plant at the intersection of Union Chapel Road and River Road and is asking for $1,000 in restitution for previous water use.
The agreement allows for the use of the field for the Vikings at no cost for five years as long as the club assumes responsibility for the maintenance of the property. The agreement may be extended for up to three, three-year renewals for a total of 14 years.
The group must also pay $2,000 for the installation of a new water meter at the property and $1,000 in restitution for past water usage while the line was unmetered.
The city will perform a meter read before and after each football season and will bill the Vikings for their usage plus a five percent administrative fee.
Lauren Palmer, city administrator, told the board that the club had operated at the field in the past with just a verbal agreement. The original water connection was established between 2004 and 2007 by a city contractor for use as a source of drinking water at the site.
Palmer said it was not exactly clear when the water began being used to also water the field.
Alderman Marc Sportsman voiced concern that the amount of restitution was only $1,000.
“This has been a very unfortunate situation from the get-go. It's probably impossible to get at what caused the abuse, but at some point someone took advantage of the water and the city paid for it. $1,000 does not come close to what they used.”
Sportsman questioned why the city would want to enter into a five-year contract with an organization that began using a connection established for drinking water for watering the playing field.
“They were operating without a lease and the message got muddled as it was passed down,” said Jim Brooks, mayor. “(The water usage) probably wasn't malicious.”
Sportsman suggested that the city could look at what the upcoming water bill will be for the 2014 season and double the amount billed. Half of the total would pay the bill and the other would go to the city for restitution.
Jackie Snyder, alderman, said she thinks the $1,000 number sounds “fair, not accurate, but fair.”
The board approved the agreement and added a section to require the Vikings to remove any structures or equipment the city deems necessary from the property should the agreement be terminated.
The agreement was approved by the board with a vote of 7-0.