Members of the Pinehurst Village Council say they hope they can reach an amicable settlement with the county over repairs to a collapsed road.
The village contends that a leak in a water line under Lake Shore Court last June led to a large section of the road collapsing. But the county and its insurance company, which is through the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, has denied responsibility.
Because of the severity of the damage, the village decided to repair the road, after the county fixed the leak, at a cost of $73,000, according to Assistant Village Manager Jeff Batton. He told the council Tuesday that since it was taking so long for the county to make a decision on whether to accept responsibility, the village decided to fix the road “in the interest of public safety.”
He wrote in a memo to the council that about a 200-foot section of the road collapsed soon after the leak was repaired.
Village and county officials have no idea how long the water line under the roadbed was leaking.
Batton said when the pavement was removed, there was a lot of water. He said a large amount of sediment ran off into Lake Pinehurst as well.
But county Public Works Director Randy Gould told the council that the road did not collapse until after the leak was repaired and that it happened uphill from where the leak was located.
He said because of the extreme heat in June, it is possible that a large truck loaded with shingles that was on the road soon after could have cause the collapse.
“We just disagree that the leak caused the damage,” Gould said.
Batton said the county’s insurance company denied the village’s claim before the pavement had been removed and did not properly investigate it.
The village appealed to the insurance carrier, but it denied the appeal.
“They have their position and we have ours,” Batton said.
Batton said a similar situation occurred last summer on Pine Vista in which a water line leak cause damage to the road. He said because it took the county several months to make a determination, the village went ahead and repaired the road after the county fixed the leak. He said the work costs about $13,000.
The county ultimately accepted responsibility, Batton said. It offered the village $9,000, he said.
Council members said Tuesday that they would be willing to accept the $9,000 for Pine Vista Road but wanted to know if the county would be willing to have further discussions over the situation on Lake Shore Court.
Batton said in response to a question from council member Judy Davis that arbitration is a possibility and that it would be binding if it were ordered by a judge.
Council members said they would prefer not to have to go the legal route at this point.
Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said the village should talk with the county commissioners about the situation and let the elected officials try to reach an agreement.
“Let’s try to work this out,” she said.
Council member Kevin Drum added, “They are our partners. We ought to be able to work this out.”
At the start of the meeting Tuesday, Jack Farrell was sworn in to serve the remainder of John Cashion’s term, which runs through Nov. 30. Cashion resigned for health reasons in November.
The four remaining council members selected Farrell, a former member of the Historic Preservation Commission, from among 13 residents who applied following a day of interviews last month.
The council then voted unanimously to elect John Bouldry as the new mayor pro tem, a position previously held by Cashion. Bouldry was out of the country for a wedding.
The council unanimously elected Davis as the treasurer, a post previously held by Bouldry.