Zanesville residents periodically submit moral claims to the clerk of council asking for money they believe to be owed to them by the city. And at Monday’s Zanesville City Council meeting, two moral claims were voted down. City of Zanesville Law Director, Scott Hillis, explains why the majority of moral claims that go through City Council are denied.
"It goes through the proper channels. I then review it and look at the statute to see if we’re immune from it or not," explained Hillis. "If we’re immune from it, I tell the people we can’t pay this legally, but you can go to Council and ask them to pay it morally. Not legally, but morally."
Hillis says each case is different and that the city is liable or not liable, based on different criteria. In the case of back-flow preventers, Hillis says the city looks at what caused the damage and if it could have been avoided.
"If the code says you have to have this device on your sewer, because it helps prevent damage in case there ever is an overflow of sewage, that if you don’t do that, you’re contributorially negligent. And you violated the statute. So in those cases, the city argues that it’s not liable because the law placed the duty on you."
The tabled moral claim will be up for discussion at City Council in two weeks.