During this month’s regular meeting of the Cumberland City Council, the panel had questions regarding reports of city workers performing work on private property.
Council member David Dixon inquired about work involving a ditch on Food City property.
“That’s private property,” added council member Charles Raleigh. “We shouldn’t be working on private property period. We actually have that in our ordinance book. We can’t work on private property, permission granted or not.”
According to Mayor Carl Hatfield, the work was necessary due to flooding in the area.
“That was an emergency situation. We did have permission to do it and they appreciated us doing it because it took the water off of Cumberland Avenue,” said Hatfield.
Council member Carolyn Elliott asked Hatfield if he had received permission in writing.
“By working on private property, if their parking lot starts getting undermined you just made us responsible for that,” said Raleigh.
Hatfield stated permission had been given for the work to be done, but no written contract had been obtained.
“Word of mouth is not worth two cents,” said Elliott.
Hatfield pointed out the ditch solved an issue of flooding in the area which had already cost the city some penalties.
“We used man hours on private property. We used city equipment on private property. We don’t have documentation that we had the right to do it. That’s three faults,” said Elliott.
Raleigh mentioned the city had also performed work on property the city had given the tourism commission.
“We were down there leveling dirt and cutting trees on that property. That’s their responsibility, not ours,” said Raleigh.
A council member inquired if the work in question would have been covered by work being done under the recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant received by the city.
“This would have nothing to do with the FEMA grant,” said Hatfield. “What we did was nothing that the FEMA grant would touch.”
According to Elliott, Hatfield should have secured permission in writing before any work was performed.
“It’s a bad mistake to do things without documentation,” said Elliott.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com