The Pryor Times

April 13, 2013

Debate over Salina waterline

Staff Writer
Susan Wagoner

— Property owner Brian Ball addressed Salina’s Board of Trustees at the regular meeting Tuesday night.

The topic was ownership of a waterline on Ball’s property. He thinks the town owns it, but Town Attorney Bill Gaddis wasn’t quick to agree.

“We bought property here and while trying to put a road in, we accidently broke the waterline,” Ball said. “We want to lower the line to finish the road into there, but I’ve since been told that the town has no record of the line.”

The waterline in question ties directly into a water tank owned by the Town of Salina.

Ball thinks the town should repair the waterline, but according to Gaddis, without proof of ownership it is assumed a private line.

“As far as we can see, this would be a private line,” Gaddis said. “We can’t go onto private property to work on the line. Without an easement or a dedication of the line to the Town of Salina, we have no proof that the line belongs to us.”

“Well, sir, I beg to differ with about everything you said,” Ball replied. “When we broke that waterline, it drained your water tank. It’s yours whether you want to own up to it or not. It’s yours.”

Gaddis suggested that may be true, but reiterated that no legal documentation exists to prove ownership, so the line is assumed private, technically owned by Ball.

“So I can bulldoze it and move the line and go on with my road?” Ball said.

“If you want to gather the necessary easements if they are required, then do what you want to,” Gaddis said. “We can’t stop you.”

“I don’t know how you can say you don’t own it when it’s tied directly to your system,” Ball said.

“Private lines are tied to systems all the time,” Gaddis replied.

“Yes, but there’s a meter between it,” Ball said.

Further discussion revealed that the waterline services only one customer, Ball, and that from a financial standpoint, the town could never recoup the investment made to fix the line.

“Well I will tell you, I think it didn’t do me much good coming here,” Ball said, adding that he wishes to sell the property, but cannot do so until a road is completed. The road can’t be completed until the waterline running beneath the road is lowered.

“If it’s not your line, then it shouldn’t have affected your system and it did,” Ball said. “Seems pretty simple to me.”

Gaddis told Ball he hoped he was wrong, but as things stand, no easement or dedication exists to show ownership of the waterline.

“Well, I guess I hate to bring it up at this point, but your water tanks are on my property and there’s no easement for them either,” Ball said to a hushed room.

“Hmmm,” Gaddis murmured. “You might have found a real good reason for us to work with you.” The crowd chuckled at the comment.

According to Ball, there are easements for the tanks, but the legal description is considerably off, thereby making the existing easements worthless.

Therefore, the town’s water tanks do not have the proper easements required from the property owner.

Gaddis instructed Town Clerk P.J. Pape to locate the easements for the tanks, as well as getting a proper legal description of the location.

Gaddis told Ball that the clerk would gather all of the information needed and “we will see what we can do to help you out.”

“Well, It’s been two months,” Ball said. “That’s more than enough time, so I’m ready.”

Ball expressed his frustration about the whole situation, saying that the entire mess had caused him to feel regret about purchasing property in the community.