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Broken water line victim's claim denied by TML

by Dolores Hamilton
Tressa Boyd, whose home and property on Johnson Rd. were damaged when a water line ruptured on Nov. 15, spoke to the Iowa Park City Council Monday night.
Boyd said she was devastated when she saw the damage. “City Manager Jerry Flemming assured me that everything would be O.K.,” she said. “He said to save all the receipts and not to worry, it would be taken care of.”
She said that Flemming and other city staff explained that the city was insured for this type of unforeseen occurence, and gave her the phone number for Texas Municipal League (TML) insurance. They filed the claim with TML, but were notified that the city is not liable for this incident under the Texas Tort Claims Act, and the claim was denied.
Michael Volcik and Cindy Arevalo, claims specialists with TML Insurance were at the meeting.
Volcik explained the Tort Act. “To be covered the claim would need to arise from the operation or use of a motor vehicle, or a claim that arises from operation or use of motor driven equipment, that is the law,” Volcik told her. “It did not in this case and it was denied. I’m sorry about what happened. I do understand and appreciate your concern. That is the law as far as the Texas Tort Act.”
“Sometimes when you get a claim the city tries to help the best it can. They may not know the law directly, people want to help in these situations and not know what to do or say because it’s a delicate situation,” he added.
Boyd said their personal insurance would pay for damage to the house and vehicles, but it will require payment of three deductibles.
In other business the council discussed the value and disposal of surplus properties owned by the city. They include the former Economic Development office at 101 W. Cash, old Barbour Trucking property at 400 East Highway, and former Friendship Cable lot on West Highway.
Council voted to demolish the building at 101 W. Cash and perhaps replace it with a grassy park area. The other two properties could be sold through sealed bids or a live auction.
“My thought is we don’t want to dispose of properties and have them remain vacant for a long time, or have something worse than was there previously,” said City Manager Jerry Flemming. Having restrictions such as building size, materials, timeline to build, etc. was discussed.
Installing “Slow, Children at Play” signs on East Washington was discussed. Council asked that more speed limit signs be put up along Washington as well as a sign that shows how fast a car is going.
A service agreement with the Iowa Park Chamber of Commerce that provides a meeting facility and storage space for the Chamber was approved.
After a public hearing on the brick residential structure at 1500 Karen, the council found the house to be a “Substandard Structure” as defined in the city’s Code of Ordinances, and ordered its abatement.
Other action taken by the council included:
- Approving the re-plat of Lot 1, in Block 26 of the Original Townsite;
- Authorized the expenditure of $5,249.29 to NetEssentials for wireless remote to the waste water facility;
- Authorized the expenditure of $16,000 to Garcia’s Construction to cut and cap the 16-inch water line east and west of the concrete vault at the ground storage facility;
- Discussed the proposal received in response to request for RFQ for engineering services for hydrologic and hydraulic analyses.
After meeting in closed session the council voted to authorize the city manager to create a position of building, electrical and/or plumbing inspector, and/or a code enforcement officer.