Two Vernon residents are upset after their cars were damaged when the town installed a faulty sidewalk in front of their home. And now, the town is refusing to pay them back for the damage.
In December 2010, Gaynor Place was repaired as part of an area renewal project in town. However, for Michael and Annabelle Rivera, the newly installed sidewalk in front of their driveway with a steep arc in the threshold caused their cars to bottom out and ruined the mufflers on both vehicles.
"It would scrape all along the sidewalks," said Annabelle Rivera of Vernon. "And make this screeching noise ... like if you were hitting a cat. And it eventually damaged the mufflers of the car."
In a recording made by the Riveras, the video shows how the undercarriage of the car is damaged on the pavement and the marks left by it.
The Riveras told Eyewitness News that they have complained to town hall to fix the sidewalk for more than a year. Town officials said they are not liable for the cost of the damages to the cars.
Executive Assistant to the Town Administrator Diane Wheelock, discussed the problem with the Riveras.
"She (Annabelle Rivera) filed a claim that was denied by the town's insurance company," Wheelock said in a statement to Eyewitness News.
Wheelock added, although the sidewalk was repaired by the town, Vernon was not at fault for the damage.
"The town engineer repaired her driveway as a goodwill gesture," she told Eyewitness News.
The Riveras have received a letter from the town's insurance carrier denying any sort of responsibility. However, they still want compensation from the town of Vernon.
"Well, if it's not your fault then why is my driveway being done?" asked Annabelle Rivera. "You know, I'm not trying to get anything out of this. All I want is my cars fixed."
The estimated cost of repairs for Rivera's 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage and Ford Escort is $2,285, which is a price that is too much for them to pay.
"You know, it's been two years. I really just want to get it over with ... get it fixed," said Annabelle Rivera. "You know, I can't keep having a car that's not working."
Neighbors have complained about the 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage and Ford Escort being noisy, the Riveras said. So, they have decided to buy new cars in the interim until the town reimburses them for the damages.
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