Muncie paying back all pothole claims

The City of Muncie is paying out every claim for damage caused by potholes.
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If you have the misfortune to hit a pothole and suffer damage to your car, you're best off doing it in Muncie. The city has so far paid out more than half of pothole-related claims and plan to pay out them all.

It may be a 1997 Chrysler Aurora, but one of Brent Peek's wheels is shiny and new.

"Immediately I knew it had destroyed the wheel," said Brent Peek.

Peek was recalling the January incident when he drove into a crater-sized pothole on Wheeling Street in Muncie.

"Heck, it had to be, you know, 8-10 inches deep. It was really a bad one," he said.

Like the rest of the state, the historically harsh winter has left the Delaware County seat pockmarked and scarred. The uphill battle of filling and patching has been a full-time job for two road crews.

But unlike other municipalities, Muncie is paying up.

"The mayor feels like it's just the right thing to do," said City Controller Audrey Jones.

The city is footing the bill for pothole-related damage. The goal, Jones said, is "to get all 100 percent paid back on the damages they've received on their vehicles."

So far, 45 people have received money, including Brent Peek.

"We did receive a check for the amount we had claimed," said Peek, who said he was surprised by the gesture.

He got a check for $171.67, enough to buy a used wheel and a new tire.

"Certainly, it was good of them to go ahead and pay it out," he said.

When it's all said and done, the damage caused by all of the potholes will add up to some $28,000. Eighty-one victims of Mother Nature will have their tab picked up the City of Muncie.

The city has received claims as low as $15 and as high as $1,800 and city officials say they'll pay all of them once they receive proof repairs have been made.

To put things into perspective, while Muncie has paid out more than 50 percent of its pothole-related claims, the City of Indianapolis has paid out only five percent.