A flurry of lawsuits claiming negligence and liability by the city of Davenport over sewer backups from heavy rainstorms in April and May brings the number of residents who are suing to eight.

Three lawsuits were filed Tuesday along with three on June 25, joining the original lawsuit filed May 30 by Ronald and Linda Wiebold, 525 W. Garfield St.

The lawsuits, filed Tuesday by attorney Mike Meloy, were on behalf of Nina Brooks, 516 W. Garfield St.; Daniel McDevitt, 2748 Scott St.; James and Jennifer Smith, 525 E. 32nd St,. and Michael Baker, 1336 W. 57th St.

Meloy also filed the June 25 lawsuits for Joseph Cobert, 510 W. Garfield St.; Diana Huffman, 524 W. Hayes St., and Rebecca Daniel, 502 E. 31st St. Cobert and Daniel had lived in their homes for at least 15 years.

"There is definitely going to be more," Meloy said Wednesday.

The lawsuits claim the city has failed to properly maintain its sanitary and storm sewer systems. Along with the city, Mayor Bill Gluba and Public Works director Mike Clarke are named as defendants.

The city has received 75 claims from residents who received damage from sewer backups that resulted from the rain events.

Next week, the city council will vote on whether to create a residential sewer surcharge of $2 per quarter for a no-fault sewer backup claims program that would be retroactive to April 1. The average amount of the claims is $5,600.

Under the city plan, residents would be eligible for up to $7,500 annually for a damage claim for sewer backup as long as the resident signs a release of any claims for the incident and agrees to install a backflow preventer.

(13) comments

qcman

Michael Rennie It is folks like you that are the reason things dont improve. These cases of sewage backing up into residents homes are not acts of god. The city has failed to take care of its sewage system for years. If rain water overflowes the sewage system because there are cracks in the sewer tunnels then that is not an act of god. It is happening because the city has not done its job. The residents of davenport pay sewer bills every 3 months. For the bill they pay the sewage is supposed to leave there homes and then go to the treament plant. It is not supposed to go back into residents homes. As the city has not used those sewer funds or any funds to properly fix the sewage system, this is not in anyway the home owners fault. This is clearly all the cities fault as they have not done there job.
And please learn to read as I have never said anything about misappropriation of state or fed funds. As I stated in the last post there is a thing call the general fund. A lot of the money that goes into the general fund comes from property taxes, And while yes some of those property taxes are for specific funds and could not be used for sewer repairs, some of the propert taxes can be used for whatever the city wants. The Q is where are there priorities. Fluff or the sewers, fluff or the streets..And I do know about the Dnr requirements for our Cities sewer and storm water system and I do know that davenport is in violation of them becuase our sewer and stormwater system are connected and are not supposed to be. You talk about being a bully. Well I know bullys and you are one of them. You are intent on bullying the residents of this city into thinking that this is there fault and they have to pay for these backflow preventers. Makes me wounder who you are and who you work for. THis problem is clearly the cityies fault as they have chosen not to solve this problem over at least the last thirty years. The city can fix this problem. The problem is they want to spend it on fluff. And folks like you want to help them. Again, who are you and what is your conection to the city of Davenport.

Michael Rennie

qcman, read my comments below.

I find it odd that you falsely claim that the multiple inches of rain we got in an hour, and multiple inches of rain per day, into an already oversaturated ground was not an act of God, considering ALL the insurance companies have ruled as such. Once again, you rant about items you know absolutely nothing about.

Here's some education for you - when there are cracks in the sewer walls (not tunnels), it means it disperses the water into the saturated ground, causing water to enter homes THROUGH the walls themselves, NOT through the sewer. Again, even though you refuse to admit it, backfow devices are now going to be required before you can collect funds, to prevent the issue from occurring again. It won't keep your basement dry, but it will stop sewage from backing up into the property.

The general fund - definition, my foolish friend, is as follows:

General Fund
Taxpayer dollars are deposited in the General Fund, along with utility license fees, business license fees, transient lodging taxes, state shared revenues (from cigarette and liquor taxes), interest income, and miscellaneous revenues and beginning cash balances. This portion of the budget is comprised largely of discretionary funds, since the Mayor and City Council can allocate the funds to programs and services in any area. In other words, there are few restrictions on how these resources may be allocated.
General fund dollars are used to support such City services as police, fire and parks, as well as planning, community development and administrative support services.

Planters, bridges to credit island, etc are from NON-GENERAL funds.Definition: Often referred to as dedicated funds, the non-discretionary funds include grants and donations, contract revenues, revenues from services, and other revenues specifically dedicated for a particular purpose. For example, building or inspection fees may only be used to support the delivery of those specific services but may not be used to support programs or services funded from discretionary resources. Likewise, the fees collected from park usage may only be used to support parks programs.

That is ILLEGAL. You most certainly did state that, read what you wrote about the planters. That is not funded from the General Fund.

Putting you in your place, and pointing out what you apparently admit to as lying or being uneducated is not bullying. First of all, I am entitled to post my facts and opinions, just as you are. You interpret being corrected as bullying. It's not. You are wrong. I am also not bullying the residents. In fact, much of what I posted is from either the multiple articles posted in the TImes, Iowa State law covering Funding (including General Fund and Non-General Fund, Federal laws covering, funding obtained via CDBG, and other sources.

Next, as a former resident, I go on record that I was the city. Citizens currently living there ARE THE CITY. You have no one to blame but yourself. Council meetings are available to attend free of charge, and if you are unable to attend, you can also watch them on TV, as they are recorded and broadcast.

For the 3rd or 4th time, this fluff you refer to comes from Non-General Funds, which by state law cannot be used for the purposes you repeatedly claim.

Since flooding information, rainfall information, and sewer damage is all public information, I challenge you to show all of the vast number of cases that you claim occurred over the last 30 years - it was simply not the problem you claimed it was. Furthermore, you voted for these people, why didn't you do something about it? Please provide the number of claims to date this year, with rainfall to date this year, Go back 30 years (hint, that would be 1984).Show me average rainfall each year, with average complaints per year. You will prove yourself wrong. Also show the yearly sewer collection fees over the last 30 years. Again, you will embarrass yourself. Do you have a clue what the sewer replacement costs west of division? Do you know what the actual costs are to run the sewage treatment plant?

You apparently are unaware of the fact that there was not enough revenue collected over the last 30 years to replace the sewers which needs replacement.

I'm not holding the city harmless, by any means. However, you seem to be holding all of the citizens harmless. I lived in Davenport 15 years in one of the very neighborhoods in question, and NEVER had an issue with sewage. Nor did any of the neighbors I was friends with. The 1 or 2 people I was aware of that were impacted and used part of the money received for backflow preventers. Guess what! They have had no problems since.

My family still lives there, and they have no problem with the city making payouts - provided you people put your backflow preventers. If you don't, you shouldn't be reimbursed. Anyone who puts 20,000 into redoing a basement, and refuses to pay 1,500 for a preventer is just completely ridiculous.

Those are the facts, qcman. Looking forward to the information you need to provide. I can look at my own times living there, and I already know you aren't in the know.

katara

City Tax: road maint, sewer maint, trash pick up, cops, fire... Why is trash pick up sand rainwater run off/sewer, all extra? Year after year more taxes and the basic needs of the people slack..

DportWatcher

Its not a simple as everyone thinks. And there is blame for both parties, the city and the homeowners. All the sanatary sewers from about Brady Street going west along the south side of Duck Creek, drain west to Hickory Grove Road and then drain south. The sewers are undersized, leak and cannot handle all the additional flow when a extreme rain events take place. That is the city's fault because they have know of this problem for years. And its a very expensive fix. Until four years, past city council ignored the sewer problems in this city. The sewer fund was under funded because there were no rate increases from 1986 through 2009, so there was not much money for repairs.
The homeowners fault is they also have known of the problem for years. Some of these people have been flooded before, either during the 1990, 1993, 2008, or the 2013 event. These nieghborhoods are at the bottom of a hill, near Duck Creek, so all the sanatary and storm sewers north of Lombard drain that direction. One of the residents said they put $20,000 into their basement after being flooded in 2008, but did not put in a $1500 dollar backflow preventer. And since the 2008 flood, the city has had a no interest loan program for the installation of these backflow preventers.
Sewers are designed for a specific flow. When extreme rain events like 3 to 5 inches of rain in 24 hours or a couple inches in an hour or two happen, the sewers cannot handle all that extra water. And when the streets in these low areas fill up with water, then that water flows into the sanatary sewers through the manholes causing all the backups. So its a situation where there is blame and responsibility on both sides.

Terry W

Right on snowman05, newdad - you don't know what you are talking about....obviously you have not followed any of this to know the City was involved directly in creating this issue for these neighbors.........where have you seen anywhere else that any neighborhoods are having this issue. Now we all get to pay for their mistake.........great City leaders, sticking it to us again.

Michael Rennie

Yes, as a matter of fact. It had more to do with no backflow preventers, and a record amount of rain - both in single occurrence and for the month. Many older neighborhoods had incidences of backflow. They will be paying a certain amount for repair, and you, as the homeowner will be required to put on a backflow preventer (see previous article - Davenport council considers sewer surcharge).

qcman

Michael. You still dont get it, Please stop harping the back flow preventers. That is not the point. The point is, is that the city of davenport has not been taking care of the sewers right for years.. In stead of fixing our sewers they spend our money on things the city does not need. We need our sewers fixed, not planters, or that garden at vandeveer. We need to stop this spending all of this money on new stuff and go back to basics. Spend out money on sewers and streets. Untill those are fixed we have no money for everything else. Yes some residents now need backflow preventers. The point is it should not have gotten to the point that we need them. City of davenport. Fix our sewers and streets, stop spending on the other junk.

Michael Rennie

You need to ground yourself in reality. Preventers are the ONLY thing that will prevent this from happening WHEN we get this large amount of rain in such a short time again. Feel free to embarrass yourself, I'll keep harping. I'll have the nice clean basement, we all know what you'll be full of.......

Why not run for office if you know so much? It's quite apparent you don't, since you can't take federal funds (that went for the planters), and misappropriate them for your sewer.

If you'd actually read up on them, if your neighbors all need one, you also do.

Get a clue about funding and city government. You seem to be clueless. What would your suggestion be? Should we raise your taxes, and run new sewer lines? I'm certainly not paying for yours. Backflow preventers would not be fixed by sewer upgrades, unless they are added at the water mains in the street. Since the need is based on water volume, could you share with us what the city did wrong? Did they pray for too much rain? Did they forget to rattle some beads at the sky so it would stop raining? New sewers, and existing sewers cannot keep up with the several inches of water per hour we were getting. Get some education.

qcman

Michael
1. I did run for city goverment. My real name is Mel Lower I ran for the 6th ward. So I am well aware of our our local goverment is run. It is you that dont seem to understand. Our sewer sys tem is over 100 years old in parts. Under Iowa DNR law the sewage system and stormwater system are not supposed to be joined. In some areas it is. The city has knowen about this for at least 25 years but has done nothing. In a lot of areas there are cracks in the system. These cracks allow rain water to enter the sewage system. These problems are the reason wht the system gets overloaded in rain. the city has been aware of these problems for years. The city currently needs to speend about 200 mil to line and fix our sewer problems. the city has budgeted 53.6 mil over the next 6 years.
As I once ran for city goverment I am well aware of the fact that some funds can only be used for certain things. I am also aware that most of the money in the general fund can be spent on whatever they want. They can also transfer some of this money into the sewer fund. So yes I have a problem when they spend money on stuff like the planters when that could go over to the sewer fund. I have a problem when they spend money for a garden for vandveer park when that money should be going over to sewers. These fixes should have been done a long time ago. We have had money to fix them but they have spent the money on fancy smuff so Davenport will look like a cool city. Well we look like a cool city to our visitors and those who want to move here and then when they get here oh ya sewage will back up into your homes and our streets will kill your car from the potholes. Its time to stop the fancy smuff and get back to basics. Untill our sewers and roads are fixed we are broke and have no money for anything else. It is you who need to get some education. You need to learn the real reason our sewers our this way. You need to learn that there are ways to fund these sewer repairs at a faster rate if they stop spending on all the smuff. And I use the word smuff because qc wont let me use the word I want to use.

Michael Rennie

I understand, and stated, it is in part the fault of the home owner. Read Dportwatcher's comment, who explains sewer flows, and that the problem lies on both sides. Glad you didn't get elected, as you don't know much about running a council. You may want to run. Just like the foolish comments regarding the credit Island bridge - you can't reprogram dollars received from the feds to fix your sewer problems, unless it's allowed by the program the feds are programming. If the feds or state allocate dollars for a bridge to an Island, or a floodwall, you cannot reprogram it for your sewers. In fact, after you misappropriate those funds on another project, many times you are not allowed to receive further funding, or required to pay it back.

I know much about funding these projects, and what the resources are. You apparently do not, which explains why you weren't elected, perhaps. You are just another blowhard bully that would become a do nothing alderman if you got elected - or ended up in jail for misappropriation of state or federal funds. 50 and 60 years ago, not only were pipes many times illegally corrected wrong (they also were connected wrong 40 years ago, to enlighten you).- that has much to do with the developer, and not so much to do with the city, by the way. Clay pipes, iron pipes and "paper" pipes were also used. So yes, I know quite a bit about it. Sounds like you know nothing about budgets, funding streams, building codes, or EPA requirements, either. Once you educate yourself on these matters, run for office - you might make a difference. This is not the only city with this issue, cities with this type of infrastructure (Bettendorf, East Moline, Moline and Rock Island) all have issues with sewers as well. They all have illegal sewer hookups by unscrupulous builders/developers, road problems, etc. If you don't like the city, perhaps you should move.

snowman05

I guess davenport doesn't plow residential streets, and now they don't get the poop out either. Great work!

newdad

It's everyone else's fault other than their own. Take care of your own property.

D-Port Native

All of these houses seem to be in the same neighborhood. Should these folks be maintaining their own sewers?

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