A water line dispute between neighbors in Wellsville, Kan., has degenerated into a civil suit filed in federal district court and involved the city and its mayor who are among the defendants named in the suit.
Marc and Regina Smith, the plaintiffs, say in court filings that they paid for a water meter in 1999 to serve their newly purchased residence and that the house is served by a water service line that extends about 1000ft from the meter to the property.
The couple claims that three of their neighbors tapped into the water line without a formal written agreement regarding the payment of water bills or the maintenance of the water line.
“Although private meters were installed in each home, the neighbors never read their meters the same day every month and refused to pay shortfalls or to help pay repair costs of the plaintiff’s water line,” the suit alleges.
The plaintiffs say that in an effort to clear up the dispute, they contacted the city of Wellsville which through its lawyer declined to get involved saying the water line in question was a private property “and the city has nothing to do with it.”
The Smith’s say that they relied on that information to prepare a “declaration of Woodson Water Board” which formalized an agreement between the neighbors on the use and maintenance of the line and all bills associated with it.
However, they allege, the city council voted in January 2019 not to transfer the line to the newly declared entity and later ordered that the plaintiffs could not remove the neighbors from the line.
The plaintiffs allege that the city also advised the neighbors that they did not have to pay attorneys fees that the plaintiff had incurred in preparing the declaration according to the suit.
The city, William Lytle, mayor and Daniel Kerr, operator of the Wellsville Water System are named as defendant as well as neighbors Robert and Janice Whalen, Dwayne and Nelina Dighans and Scott and Peggy Sparks.