Y'town residents insulted by city's damage offer


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Six Wendover Circle residents who had extensive damage to their homes after a December water break were offered $2,500 each from the city administration to help pay their expenses.

The residents called the proposal an “insult” and members of council said the city should come back with a better offer.

The issue was discussed Thursday at a city council infrastructure and general improvements committee meeting.

The residents weren’t permitted to talk at the meeting, but later spoke to the media.

Fred Ross of Wendover Circle, who’s lived on that street for 52 years, said the water break caused $62,000 worth of damage to his home.

As for the $2,500 offer, Ross said, “It’s an insult,” and “I’m being mistreated.”

Keith Franklin, who also lives on the street, said of the offer: “It’s unacceptable. It’s negligent,” and the city “should pay the bills.”

He said his house sustained $25,000 in damage.

Joan Krispli, who lives on Wendover, said the city’s offer was “sad.” She said she had about $15,000 to $16,000 in damage to her house from the flooding.

A water line on Wendover Circle, near Kirk Road, on the city’s West Side, broke in December, causing water to flow into the basements of a number of homes. It caused thousands of dollars of damage to Wendover Circle houses.

Councilwoman Lauren McNally, D-5th, who has Wendover in her ward, said in the past the city has made “good-faith payments for extreme situations” like this and should cover more than $2,500 for each resident who had to pay to clean up water and replace items such as water heaters, washing machines and dryers.

The residents said their insurance companies paid a fraction of their bills.

Law Director Jeff Limbian said Mayor Jamael Tito Brown is offering $2,500 to each of the six residents who have filed claims – it could grow to as many as 14 residents, McNally said – even though the mayor realizes “a lot of people were damaged greater than that.”

“If we can give $500,000 water grants to businesses, we can give money to our residents” for water damage, McNally said.

Council members Julius Oliver, D-1st, and Anita Davis, D-6th, agreed that the city should offer more than $2,500 to each resident impacted by the flooding.

Nicole Alexander, assistant law director, said there is no liability on the city’s part in cases such as this.

After hearing from city council members, Limbian said, “I’ll take these concerns back to the mayor and see if there’s some room for movement.”

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