No flood of money headed to compensate for mudslide damage
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – City Council made no ruling Thursday on whether the city will compensate Red Mountain residents Paul and Candy Brachle for mudslide damage the couple says resulted from city negligence.
But council members did direct Public Works Department director Robin Millyard to have his workers fix the drainage problem.
The city crews will dig a trench from the end of a ditch from the point where it ends at West 9th Street to another ditch that flows into the Roaring Fork River.
The Brachles, of 913 Red Mountain Drive, say the city’s failure to finish digging the last 40 feet of the roadside ditch behind their yard caused a deluge of mud and water to flow down Red Mountain and into their house during a rainstorm last Sept. 12.
“We know that floods happen, but we also know things can be done to prevent some of the damage from flooding,” Paul Brachle said to City Council at their regular meeting Thursday. “We feel our house was damaged by negligence by the city.”
The flood caused around $20,000 worth of damage to the Brachles’ house and shut down their custom drapery business, located in the basement of their home, for a month during its busiest season.
The city’s insurance company refused to pay for the damages, calling the flood an act of God.
mudslide: see page 8
mudslide: from page 1
Along with seeking money for the damages, the Brachles told council they are just as concerned about another flood happening this year.
“Why, in the 175 days since the flood, has nothing been done?” Brachle asked.
Councilman Rick Davis asked Millyard if something could be done.
“What about going up there and finishing the ditch in the next month with the coming of the rain?” he said.
Millyard replied, “We can do that.”
After Paul Brachle spoke, several neighbors spoke on behalf of the couple, including attorney John Kemp.
Kemp said he didn’t attend the meeting as the Brachles’ legal representative, but rather as a friend.
“The claim should have been paid and it should not have been treated by the city the way it was, which was to stonewall him,” Kemp said.
Although Kemp characterized the situation as a slam-dunk case, he said it would cost far too much to sue the city.
“We’re here with our hat in our hand asking for the money,” he said.
The Brachles also complained that phone calls and letters to the city and its insurance company were not returned until the issue came up as a City Council agenda item.
City manager Mike Copp said the administration will “work on that.”
“Sometimes when the insurance company gets involved we kind of step back, and we should be more vigilant with that,” he said.
Some City Council members apologized to the Brachles about the handling of the situation but called Thursday a fact-finding meeting. Council members said they’d make a final decision at their April 4 meeting on whether the city will pay for damages caused by the flood.
Mayor Don Vanderhoof braced the Brachles in case the answer is unfavorable.
“I hope something can be done,” he said, “but please understand we’ve got 8,000 people to protect.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.