The village of East Dundee is to blame for a business being in danger of going under, quite literally, a local excavator says.
And while Dundee Automotive owner Randy Klemm wants the village to pay for the damage his business has sustained from a water main that had collapsed under his parking lot, causing the lot to break up and sink, Village Manager Bob Skurla said he needs Klemm to put it in writing.
"I've got to have a starting point," Skurla said. "The ball is in his court to get me something."
For more than a month, Arthur Popp Excavating has been digging up the parking lot at Dundee Automotive at Routes 72 and 68 to get to the bottom of why the parking lot was collapsing. The work is expected to end later this week.
Steve Komarchuk owns the excavating company and suspects that a broken water main running in front of the shop is to blame.
"I think it was a combination of the drought and the water main break that the village had," Komarchuk said. "Nobody knows what happened with the ground, but the water main certainly exacerbated the situation. There is no doubt about that."
Klemm suspects the water main broke sometime in July, but he didn't see actual water until September, when a plume of water shot out of the grass and into the parking lot, he said.
"Since they fixed the water main, nothing has moved, nothing has changed. Everything has been fine," Klemm said. "Since this stopped, everything else has stopped."
Klemm predicts that all of the work will cost more than $100,000 and he expects to have an estimate to the village by next week. Although Klemm's insurance will pick up the tab for the work, he says it shouldn't be on the hook to pay for damage he says is the village's responsibility.
But Skurla can't do anything about the problem until he has proof.
"Randy has got to come back to me with something in writing with the dollar amount as well as a supposed cause so we can discuss it," Skurla said. "I've not seen anything in writing from anyone to suggest that it was the fault of the village."
Skurla pointed out that the village already has helped Klemm by giving him money to buy temporary signs, which told the public Klemm was still open during the work. If it turns out the village is not at fault, the village board could still discuss ways to keep Klemm happy financially.
But nothing can start until Klemm submits the necessary paperwork.
"It's a starting point," Skurla said. "It's not a guarantee that we're going to write a check absolutely."