Residents complain of flooded houses

Homeowners came before the City Council saying improvement district diverted water into their homes

KINGMAN – Two residents who live on Wallapai Avenue claim the improvement district created to enhance their neighborhood caused flooding in their homes instead.

Alex Bosze told the City Council on Monday that several of his neighbors on the north side of the avenue have had similar problems since construction of the curbs, gutters and sidewalks ended in late April.

“Since they’ve done this improvement, I do not have the drainage out of my yard, because of the sidewalks and the curb and the street are six to 12 inches higher than my driveway is. So where does the water go? In my garage,” he said.

Bosze’s neighbor, Steve Woods, said his house is 18 inches lower than the street.

“July Fourth I was in Colorado and I came home to a flooded house. I didn’t come home until July 15,” he said. “I know that my house flooding is not the city’s problem, but it’s going to be my fault when I put a pump on my property and pump the water into the street and flood somebody else’s house.”

City Engineer Pete Johnson said the construction was completed as designed.

The problem, he said, lies with the fact that the drainage is not working the way it was designed when their houses were built.

“Since the street slopes to the west, it was thought that the water from the front yards could be directed to that westerly corner and it would drain. Apparently, it hasn’t worked like it was supposed to,” he said.

Monday’s Council meeting included a public hearing for property owners in the district to voice legal objections to the completed work of the Wallapai/Marlene Improvement District. Due to the severity of their claims, Council decided to continue the hearing for nine days. They will reconvene at 6 p.m. next Wednesday.

Under state law, Council has 10 calendar days to conclude the hearing.

The continuance allows city engineers time to inspect the alleged damage and present a solution to Council. Kingman’s bond attorney, Fred Rosenfeld, said state law requires that the Council act only on the five residents who appeared at the meeting. Council would not have to respond to any new complaints from residents of the district that come forward during the continuance.

The Wallapai/Marlene Improvement District includes portions of Wallapai and Marlene Avenues and Jackson, Monroe and Adams Streets. Work on the streets included curbs and gutters, sidewalks and paving. It includes 30 property owners who pay a portion of the $158,685 total cost over 15 years.

Along with the flooding complaints, three residents within the district objected to the cost of the project assessed to them.

Lloyd Peterson, who lives in the 2600 block of Marlene Avenue, said he was never informed of the improvement district or what his share of it would be. No one from the city responded to his request for that information, he added.

“I ran into a brick wall with engineering. We had never received letter one from engineering regarding anything about the cost of this district,” he said. “This has been the most terrible experience I’ve ever had to encounter. I guess this overrules a root canal and a divorce.”

Alice Walker is a special assessor within the Kingman Development Services Department. She said the total cost was made public on May 10. The property owners could not receive their payment schedule until Monday’s hearing was finished because there may be changes that came from it.

“I will provide everybody with a payment schedule,” she said. “They will know exactly what the payments will be over the term of the contract.”

Walker said the average assessment was $5,300 per property owner. The city also paid about $6,000, which is the difference between the engineer’s estimate and the actual price of the bid, Johnson said.

The residents also learned that the city is not required to directly mail cost information about improvement districts to the affected property owners. Rosenfeld said state law only requires the information is posted within the district and published in a newspaper.

Following the hearing, Councilman Tom Carter asked acting City Attorney Carl Cooper to draft an ordinance requiring mailing the information for future improvement districts.

This is not the first time enhancements within improvement districts have caused flooding. Residents of the East Golden Gate Addition Improvement District voiced similar complaints in 2004.