Wednesday, June 25, 2014

John's Place: Town Liability Concerns Deprive Citizens of Important Informational Cost Savings

As a homeowner in Oro Valley, I recently encountered a problem that could have cost me thousands of dollars. Most citizens are not aware that the water/sewer lines from the street to their home are their financial liability.

Many people believe that water and sewer lines will last hundreds of years without failing; but the truth is, there are many reasons other than life expectancy of the pipes that can contribute to infrastructure failure - such as tree-root intrusion, rust and weather.

The developer of my home planted a tree adjacent to my driveway. After 20+ years one of the mature tree roots started to raise a section of my drive way. I thought about removing the tree. When Blue Stake contacted the utilities to locate water, gas, electric, telephone, and cable lines near the tree I discovered that locating the water/sewer lines from street to my home was my responsibility. It could have cost me thousands if I destroyed the water/sewer lines trying to remove the tree. Instead, I dug up a ¼ of my driveway, removed the giant tree root and replaced the ¼ of my driveway.

At the June 18, 2014 Town Council Meeting, Councilman Mike Zinkin, who represents Oro Valley for The National League of Cities (NLC), discussed that NLC sponsors a Service Line Warranty Program to help homeowners save thousands of dollars in expensive utility line repair costs while addressing the community's aging infrastructure.  It is a low cost insurance program. The Town of Oro Valley can’t recommend or endorse a particular organization or company because of liability and ethical issues so the council passed on any action.

However, the Town could at least inform the citizens through their water bills or the Town Web Site that there are many insurance programs out there that could provide significant cost savings should a water problem occur. This would be a public service announcement. It would be the responsibility of the homeowner to decide if they want coverage and contact any company offering the insurance program.

1 comment:

Richard Furash, MBA said...

Thank you, John, for your public service announcement. I have a neighbor who just paid a huge repair bill for a line from the street to his house.