LIGONIER – The city will not reimburse a resident who collected large bills after first trying to fix a sewer problem on their own before having to call in a contractor on a job that was more complicated than the average broken pipe.
But Ligonier waived a $ 350 sewer fee to save some cash.
The Ligonier Board of Works reopened the discussion about a request from Jorge Lucerno at 301 E. Fourth St., who had requested the city to reimburse him for the costs he had incurred in repairing his sewer connection.
Lucerno did not show up for the meeting, but the board members heard from a contractor who had been called in to finalize the problem.
According to the board members and the contractor, Lucerno had excavated his garden in order to locate and repair the sewer system on the side of the house to the sewer system. There was significant flooding in the open trenches due to heavy rainfall during the process. He noted that the resident “created a bigger problem” by trying to do it himself.
The contractor was able to clean and locate the sewer pipe that they believe was once jointly connected to the nearest house but split up at some point in the past and correctly reconnect the house to the main.
After hearing the sequence of events, city officials were OK with the complication but were unwilling to reimburse any person for the cost of fixing their own problem.
“Sometimes the homeowner trying to get their own job done creates more problems than necessary,” said Board Member and Building and Zones Administrator Earle Franklin. “It’s unfortunate, but he’s created his own mess here to a point and I have to think we’re not responsible for that.”
Mayor Patty Fisel may not have wanted to set a precedent by paying for such a repair – responsibility for the side panels from private homes to the main line rests with the owner – and Fisel noted that she previously had to pay around $ 4,000 for sewer repairs their own property in the past.
The board declined the reimbursement but agreed to waive the customary $ 350 tap fee as the property had previously been tapped to the main line, merely replacing that connection.