CH should fund repairs on public property

I live in Cleveland Heights and received an advertisement for a water-line protection program for covered repairs, i.e., insurance. A diagram in the ad illustrates coverage from the edge of the homeowner’s property to the home, not from the water main to the home, which leaves me in a quandary.

In Cleveland Heights, the mayor maintains a “policy” that repairs are the homeowner’s responsibility to the curb, or, practically, from the mains to a home, for both water and sewer. This means that the lines on public property, between the edge of the homeowner’s property and main, are the homeowner’s responsibility. Thus, according to the diagram in the ad, they are not covered by its water-line protection program.

Basic city services have declined in Cleveland Heights. Utility providers, including the city, have shifted the burden of repairing aging infrastructure to the homeowner, first from the meter to the property line, and now, according to the “policy,” from the property line to the curb. This is not in the interest of citizens, but rather throws them under the proverbial bus, [making them responsible] for repairs to lines on public property.

City point-of-sale inspections do not include water lines or sewer lines, which are not readily visible to new homebuyers. The liability for repairs to either the water or sewer lines can be significant, especially to young new buyers who can ill afford the cost and are not aware of the city’s policy. The cost for repairs to aging infrastructure could be spread through the city’s taxing power or through insurance. Now, neither seems to apply, and when such a repair is needed, an individual homeowner can get the short end of the stick.

CH City Council is complicit. Council could pass an ordinance which makes the city responsible for repairs on public property, moving [the homeowner’s] responsibility from the curb back to the property line. If council members really want to act in the interest of the citizens, an ordinance would move responsibility back to the meter. [The city has] the expertise and market power for these types of repairs. Now, citizens facing breaks in lines are forced to act and absorb the costs as individuals, while city officials hide behind the “policy.”

I know when I go to the polls this November I will be voting for change on Cleveland Heights City Council.

Robert Jefferis

Robert Jefferis is a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights who cares about the city.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:08 AM, 10.30.2023