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Tax case, Sileno talks run up city legal fees

Quarry on private property south of Burleigh and west of Burlawn Parkway.

Quarry on private property south of Burleigh and west of Burlawn Parkway. Photo By C.T. Kruger

Dec. 4, 2013

City officials asked the Common Council on Monday for an extra $100,000 to pay for legal services obtained in 2013, after spending about $49,000 on issues related to what's known as the Sileno property, where Super Excavators has proposed filling in a former quarry for a park and housing development.

It isn't unusual for the city to ask for extra money to supplement the $150,000 annually budgeted for legal services, Finance Director Robert Scott said, but this year's request is for more than was requested the past two years — $60,000 in 2011 and $40,000 in 2012.

Scott said the city spent about $60,000 fighting a challenge to the assessed value of Boston Store, a battle the city won. The city hired an outside appraiser to make its case in setting the value, which determines how much Boston Store has to pay in taxes for four years.

The $49,000 spent on the Sileno property went toward researching the city's options in controlling use of the land and negotiating with Super Excavators on the company's plans to dump clean fill from the Zoo Interchange to level out the land — a proposal some residents have loudly opposed.

More costs could be on the horizon for the city if lawsuits move forward, although with insurance, the city wouldn't have to pay more than $50,000 per incident, Scott said.

Relatives of a girl who drowned at the Wirth Aquatic Center on July 3, 2012, are asking the city to pay $500,000 for a claim of wrongful death, and more than $200,000 for her medical bills.

Additionally, a woman who said she was injured as a result of a police officer running a red light is asking for $50,000 to cover her medical bills. Regina Resch-Schneidewent said she was on a motorcycle when a police officer went through a red light without an audible signal Aug. 2. She claims the officer hit a car and traffic signal, causing part of the signal to fall on Resch-Schneidewent and injure her.

The city denied both claims.

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