02/09/05 — City won't pay 30-year-old bill for road

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City won't pay 30-year-old bill for road

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on February 9, 2005 2:19 PM

Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but a technicality will keep Albert Spruill from dishing it out at all.

Spruill, a Cooke Street resident, was angered when the city demolished a condemned house that Spruill had owned on 11th Street. Then he saw red when he got an $8,500 bill for the work.

In retaliation, Spruill sent the city a bill for $3,000 for building a cul-de-sac in 1975.

Spruill was ordered to do the work by former city engineer Charles Sullivan as a condition of building a house on Cooke Street, Spruill told the City Council Monday. He worked for five weeks clearing trees, hauling in fill dirt and leveling the cul-de-sac, he said.

Spruill valued his work at $500 a week, plus $500 in materials, for the $3,000 total. He also asked for 7 percent interest.

If the city would deduct that amount from the demolition bill, Spruill would settle up, he said. "I need to get this paid off."

But if the city accepted the bill, it would have ended up owing Spruill money. The cul-de-sac bill would have been between $22,837 and $24,494, depending on how often interest was compounded.

Fortunately for the council, City Attorney Tim Finan noted that Cooke Street is not a city-maintained street. If anyone owes Spruill for the road work, Finan said, it's the N.C. Department of Transportation.

"If you did this, it would set a precedent. Anyone who could not get the state to do something would petition the city," Finan said.

The city gave Spruill information about contacts at DOT.