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Ripped strips: Logan council to hear complaints about subcontractors

By Miranda Tilley 

A hearing on Tuesday will allow Logan residents to voice concerns over utility companies that have torn up yards — and left property owners to clean up the mess.

City rules require utility companies to notify residents before doing any work on private property, including the strips of land between the sidewalk and road, often called park strips, parking strips or curb strips. But Logan residents have filed multiple complaints about workers who have left broken sprinkler systems and lawns in disrepair.

Mike DeSimone, Logan’s community development director, said fiber optic companies face many challenges when updating infrastructure. He said it is difficult to remain competitive, get systems in quickly, and stay on top of service calls in addition to making people happy.

There is “tension between people wanting improved services and having access to those right away,” he said.

But homeowner Tony Nielson said he’s discontent.

“I can’t go home or on a vacation for three days without coming back and finding out they’ve dug up my lawn,” Nielson said. “They’ve dug up my sprinklers and they leave… The utilities contractors are not scared of you — not one inch.”

Logan City Council member Jeannie Simmonds said it may be time for a change.

“Those of us who own property know the park strip is owned by the city, but we still pay the money to put in the sprinkler system,” Simmonds said. “We still pay the money to water it and they come and dig it up and they don’t repair it.”

Council member Herm Olsen said the utility companies hire subcontractors that come in and “bully the ground” on people’s properties and claim they are not responsible.

“That’s inappropriate and it leaves the property owner helpless to try and find the solution over months with a large company that frankly doesn’t care that much,” Olsen said. 

At its Sept. 6 meeting, the council agreed it is time utility companies work together as good neighbors and solve the problem, and asked for a further discussion and possibly resolution of the issue at its next meeting.

That meeting will be held on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.