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KCMO's aging infrastructure is costing taxpayers

Posted at 7:11 PM, Nov 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-06 20:11:37-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The city is now getting ready pay out another six-figure claim for a water main break. 

On June 26, water gushed at the corner of 49th and Mercier in the West Plaza area.

It was one of four water main breaks that day.

On that evening's edition of 41 Action News, we told viewers, "as for the damage inside homes, any homeowner can file a claim with the city to determine damage."

That's what a husband and wife who live at 49th and Mercier did. They didn't want to go on camera, but city records show the city attorney is now working to pay them more than $100,000 for the damage to their garage and basement.

Theirs is the latest claim Kansas City has had to pay out this year. It only took them four months.

But not every claim is handled so quickly.

Sarah O'Connor's mom settled with KCMO in February for a break at 49th and State Line that sent water cascading into their home in May 2016.

"A contact from the city's attorney’s office told us they would completely take care of all of the damage to our home. They would not only take care of removing items and meticulously documenting them for our replacement, but they would also be taking care of the general contracting work that would go into repairing the actual structure," O'Connor told 41 Action News Monday.

O’Connor said the city gave them half of what they asked for. Despite that, the payouts are adding up.

According to KCMO, so far this year the city has coughed up $2,364,196.99 for claims related to water main breaks and sewer back-ups.

They're on pace to double what they paid out last year, $1,773,014.77, and $1,808,975.11 in 2015.

"Our water main break only affected our house on our block, and seeing the aggregated damage that that caused it's absolutely no surprise to me in conjunction with the amount of water crews I see out on a regular basis on water main breaks that the city is having to pay this amount of money," O’Connor said. 

41 Action News did ask a city spokesperson why the sudden jump in payouts this year compared to previous years, but they couldn't pinpoint a specific reason, only saying that the settlements amounts vary from year to year.