City to file complaint against Missouri American Water

Jefferson City officials plan on filing a complaint against Missouri American Water because of what staff say is a number of issues that have popped up in the last year.

At the Public Works and Planning Committee meeting Thursday, City Engineer David Bange said city staff had been having trouble throughout the past year with Missouri American Water, issues where the water company wasn’t keeping up with city projects.

Because of the continuing problem, the committee approved a motion to allow staff to file the complaint with the Missouri Public Service Commission, though Public Works Director Matt Morasch noted he would consult with the city attorney to decide if the entire council would need to vote on a resolution before filing the complaint.

Bange and Morasch listed several projects that were hampered by a lack of cooperation from Missouri American Water officials, including the sidewalk projects on Missouri Boulevard and Ellis Boulevard, as well as the neighborhood improvement project on Moreland Avenue, where the company had stated it would come out and do the requested work, but Morasch said they never showed up.

“I get a lot of ‘yes, we’ll do that,’ but it never happens,” Morasch said. “I think it gives the city, public works especially, it puts us in a bad light.”

Bange said the problem may be a lack of manpower within the company, though the city is not sure exactly what is causing the “very slow response.” Bange said continued leaks, or seepage issues, are destroying city roads and the lack of cooperation has a negative effect on the Fire Department when the water company fails to show up to assist with new hydrants.

“For whatever reason, things are falling apart,” Bange said.

Before approving the request, 3rd Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner, who chairs the committee, said these issues with the water company are affecting the city financially, while also affecting residents’ quality of life.

In other business, Operations Division Director Britt Smith notified committee members that the Dunklin Street bridge, between Mulberry Street and Missouri Boulevard, recently was inspected by the Missouri Department of Transportation, which found the steel beams have deteriorated.

Smith said the bridge would need to be “load posted” meaning it will have weight limit of 30 tons. Smith said bridges in town without any posted signs have a weight limit of 40 tons.

Smith specified the weight change would not affect school or city buses and noted the city would make direct contact with businesses in the area that use large trucks.

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