Utility district, church settle damage claim
According to a claim filed by Mission Baptist Church Pastor Tim Clark, LMUD had done some planned power outages and repair work to the transformer near his church Nov. 16, 2011.
When the power was restored to the transformer, an arc of electricity passed through the power lines to the church and caused severe electrical and plumbing damage.
Back in December, Bill Stewart, LMUD’s general manager, said LMUD accepted full liability for the damages even though the cost exceeds the normal claim liability amount of$5,000.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Bud Bowden, the board president, apologized for how long it has taken to resolve the matter, but he told Clark the district had to complete its own investigation before it could assume liability for the damage.
Clark said he understood.
Stewart said part of the problem in resolving the issue was the deprecation applied to the church building by the district’s insurance company.
He said it is normal for insurance adjusters to deprecate older buildings when calculating the amount an insurance company will pay to settle a damage claim.
Stewart recommended the board indemnify the church for any depreciation and agree to pay all costs beyond what the insurance company would accept.
He said it was impossible to know the exact amount the district would be liable for, but he estimated it would be at least $17,345.
He recommended the board put a $20,000 cap on the district’s liability and said the board could approve additional funding at a later date if necessary.
The contractor, Michael Kirack, said one of the problems he would encounter would be the asbestos he expects to find in the building as he makes repairs.
The total estimate for the repairs, to be completed by Kirack Construction, is $80,148.52.
Kirack’s original estimate was $7,000 higher, but that amount decreased during negotiations with the adjuster.
Kirack agreed to advise the insurance adjuster in a timely manner of every additional or unexpected repair he came across.
Stewart also said the insurance company agreed to pay for an American Disabilities Act bathroom and ramp because those upgrades would be required by city code due to the extent of the other repairs being made to the building.
Prior to the board’s unanimous approval of the settlement, Bowden asked Clark if he was satisfied with the agreement and its terms. He said he was.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Kirack complained Gene Chittock had met with another contractor regarding the project.
Chittock said he was only trying to move the project forward.
He apologized to Kirack and said he should have given him a call rather than meeting with the other contractor.
Kirack also said LMUD issued bids to other contractors that do not go out to bid, and he thought they should.
Dave Folce, the district engineering and operations manager, said some project must go to bid and others do not. For example, he said public works projects must go to bid.
Ward 5 Director Jay Dow suggested the board might want to review its bid process to ensure every contractor had a chance to put in a bid.
“We may need to relook at that at some time,” Dow said.
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