Official Arrested In Dispute Over Water Tower

In Kansas City, Missouri, Anthony Motta of Jackson County Public Water District No. 12 was arrested Thursday after telling workers building a water tower to keep going, despite a Greenwood city police order insisting they stop.

If the water tower is not completed, then a fast-growing area of Jackson County will not have enough water. The water district has grown 270 percent in just 10 years.

Greenwood city officials were concerned that the water tower construction threatened a city sewer line. They reportedly sent a letter to the water district explaining: "The city has a duty to protect the health, welfare and safety of its citizens. If the project continues, the city will be forced to issue a stop work order or take other drastic measures."

Motta contends that state law requires his water board answer only to the state of Missouri, and Greenwood has no jurisdiction in this matter. Motta also has a permit for the construction, issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

But Greenwood attorney Steve Mauer insisted that the city still has the power to enforce its own codes, and that’s why they took action to stop the project.

"They had me turn around, they cuffed me, they patted me down, and put me in a patrol car," Motta told a reporter from KMBC-TV. "They drove me to the Greenwood City Hall basement and put me in a holding cell."

"This is an opportunity to reduce our water rates. I just can't fathom why I would be arrested for that," Motta said.

Greenwood city officials explained that they just wanted to see the water board's detailed plans for the water tower.


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