HANCOCK - Damage caused to a car by a spike holding down a speed bump on a Hancock street will be paid by the city as a result of action taken by the city council Wednesday.
During the public comment period at the regularly scheduled meeting, Carmen LaFernier told council members when she drove over the speed bump on Warren Street Oct. 13, a spike, which was sticking up through the device, damaged much of the undercarriage, including the exhaust system, on her 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier.
LaFernier showed council members photographs of the damage and an estimate from a repair shop, which stated it would cost $1,161.24 to replace the damaged parts. However, the insurance she had for the car would not cover that cost, so she was asking the city to pay for it.
Glenn Anderson, Hancock city manager, said city Department of Public Works crews have removed that and other speed bumps on the street for the winter.
After LaFernier presented the issue, council members voted to place it on the agenda for discussion and action.
During discussion, Anderson said generally the city is immune from liability for such incidents, but there is precedent for the city either paying part or all of damages caused as a result of city property or actions.
Councilwoman Lisa McKenzie said she didn't think the city should pay the whole cost of repairs for the car because of its age, but she could accept paying some of the cost.
"I'm not comfortable with the whole cost," she said.
Councilman Ted Belej said since the speed bump was defective city property, and it wasn't a naturally-occurring feature, such as a pothole, the city should pay the entire cost of the repair.
"We need to get that vehicle back on the road," he said. "We should pay it."
Councilman James Hainault said he was concerned LaFernier didn't have enough insurance to cover the damage, and he voted against the city paying for the damage. Despite her concerns, McKenzie, along with the rest of the council, voted yes.
Mayor William Laitila said the council might want to reconsider the use of speed bumps on city streets.
"This has pretty much convinced me speed bumps are not the way to go," he said.
In other business, the council:
approved an ordinance increasing the amounts for costs for purchases and services requiring council approval. Anderson said the ordinance hasn't been updated in 20 years.
approved a $2.092 million bond ordinance for the $4 million sewer project to be started next construction season. The remainder of the cost will be paid by a Rural Development grant.
set council sub-committee appointments.
heard a review of 18 capital outlay projects in the city, which have either been completed, have started or are planned.
approved a $250 contribution to the Hancock Business & Professionals Association for their Christmas Walk scheduled for Nov. 26.
approved free parking downtown for Nov. 24 to Jan. 3.
Kurt Hauglie can be reached at khauglie@ mininggazette.com.