Thousands more tax dollars spent on Spring Hill neighborhood pro - WSMV Channel 4

Thousands more tax dollars spent on Spring Hill neighborhood project

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Construction on ditches has been a months-long headache for the residents of Spring Hill. (WSMV) Construction on ditches has been a months-long headache for the residents of Spring Hill. (WSMV)
SPRING HILL, TN (WSMV) -

More than half a million dollars has already been spent trying to make a Spring Hill neighborhood better equipped to handle flooding. And tonight, the Channel 4 I-Team has learned even more tax dollars have to be spent to fix the city's mistakes.

The city admits mistakes were made, and now they're taking steps to fix it. But all of this extra work is at the expense of the taxpayers.

Listen closely and you can hear just how fast water is rushing in the ditch. Rebecca Hellemans shot video on her cell phone after a recent heavy rain. Ever since the city dug a ditch several feet deep in her yard, she says this is what happens.

"It is actually fast-moving water, and as a mom it concerns me greatly because that water is fast enough to take a kid,” said Hellemans.

Hellemans yard is just one of nearly four dozen on a list to be fixed. Back in January, the I-Team told you how many of these homes were affected during the historic 2010 floods. The project is all part of a plan to prevent flooding in the future.

But the I-Team learned ditches weren't supposed to be deeper than 3 feet. And there was also supposed to be a shoulder for safety reasons.

“Some of the ditches are much steeper than what they had indicated,” said Daniel Ernst, who lives in Buckner Place.

Currently some ditches are as deep as 5 feet and we now know the price tag to fix it: roughly $255,000 more of taxpayer money. That's on top of more than a half million dollars that was already spent on it.

The total? More than $840,000.

Reporter Lindsay Bramson asked, "What do you think about the additional money taxpayers are now having to pay to fix city’s mistake?"

"I think it's terrible," said Wendy Bannister who also lives in Buckner Place. "I think the money could've been so much better spent on other things this community needs instead of having to come back and fix such a big mistake."

So what went wrong? You may remember back in January, City Administrator Victor Lay put much of the blame on the contractor.

During an interview in January, Lay said, “The mistakes are hard to pinpoint to say, but we did find some areas where the contractor deviated from the engineer's drawing."

We caught up with that contractor who has a different story. According to David Boyd with SBW Construction, he followed the plans he showed us and says he did everything the city told him to do.

Lindsay Bramson said, "When we were here last though you had said the contractor didn't follow the plan."

"Well, what I had said was I thought there were a couple places where he had not followed the plan. When the engineer went back and checked those he had indeed followed it,” said Lay.

Lay also says while mistakes were made, the rushing water shows the ditches are actually doing their job; catching the water and preventing it from flooding the streets and homes in the neighborhood. But he agrees 5 feet is too deep. And a new approved plan will put pipes underground and bring yards back up so no ditch is deeper than 3 feet.

“I think the pressure's on. And I think this neighborhood is not going to let it go,” said Bannister.

As far as a timeline goes the city says materials have been ordered and work is expected to start this week or next week.

The city administrator believes all the ditches will be fixed within the next two months. Lay also says the original budget for this was $1 million, so despite more money being spent to fix it, he says they're still coming in under budget.

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