Pegram loses judgment on half-million dollar parking lot - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pegram loses judgment on half-million dollar parking lot

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PEGRAM, TN (WSMV) -

A small Middle Tennessee town paid more than a half-million dollars for a small parking lot, and now some residents in Pegram are saying it's all because of a bungling government.

The town center in Pegram, a town with a population of just 2,500 people, went way over budget. But, of all things, it wasn't the building that exceeded costs. It was the parking lot.

"We build this Taj Mahal on questionable land without proper supervision," said Pegram resident Audrey Marshall.

After a city fire truck sank into the parking lot asphalt in 2002, the city sued the construction firm on a claim of faulty construction.

Fast-forward more than a decade, and Pegram has spent nearly $600,000 in total legal fees, not to mention new engineering fees and the cost to redo the parking lot.

Then, as if to add one more financial insult to taxpayers, Pegram appealed for $40,000 and lost it all.

Marshall attended the trial and is frustrated with how it was handled.

"The lawsuit was doomed from the beginning," she said. "We had a city attorney who, of course, was not qualified to handle any litigation such as this, but the council agreed to let her recommend a firm."

The judge ruled that while the parking lot was not as promised, the engineer did tell them not to park the fire trucks on the asphalt.

"Take your losses and move on," said Pegram Mayor Charles Morehead.

Morehead said, looking back, it was probably a mistake.

"When we spend money for construction, we expect to get a good job out of it. The court ruled against us. They felt like we did, and I feel like we didn't, so where do you go from there," he said.

One direction the city cannot go from there is to dip into property tax revenues. Pegram has no property taxes. Instead, the city is run solely on sales tax revenues from its handful of local businesses.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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