More than half a million in taxpayer dollars have been spent trying to make a Spring Hill neighborhood better equipped to handle flooding.
But the Channel 4 I-Team has learned major mistakes were made and it's going to cost even more tax dollars to fix it.
After the 2010 floods, the city of Spring Hill came up with a plan to help with drainage in one of the neighborhoods that was hit the hardest. But what has happened since this project started five months ago has people saying their neighborhood is actually in worse shape.
The neighborhood is called Buckner Place.
"The city never ever told us it would be this deep or this wide,” Rebecca Hellemans said.
The ditch in front of Hellemans’ house was supposed to be three feet deep.
"I'm 5-foot-7 and so this is coming up to my shoulders,” Hellemans said.
With no shoulders, Hellemans said her 14-year-old daughter barely has room to walk around it when she gets off the school bus. She’s also worried about her 4-year-old daughter who loves to play outside.
"My car could be buried in this hole. I think my kids could drown if there's actually water in this,” Hellemans said.
"We need drawbridges to get across it,” Linda Alkalouti said.
Alkalouti said she doesn't even feel safe walking to her mailbox.
"There's no place to park for cars or to move over in case of emergency vehicles. School buses, kids can’t get off the bus without going in the ditch,” she said.
Spring Hill officials admit these ditches are dangerous. City Administrator Victor Lay said they're much deeper than they were supposed to be.
"It's my understanding there was no ditch that was supposed to exceed three feet in depth,” Lay said.
Lay admits mistakes were made. There were supposed to be shoulders and the culverts weren't supposed to be deeper than three feet.
The I-Team asked how this happened.
“The mistakes are hard to pinpoint, to say, but we did find some areas where the contractor deviated from engineers’ drawing,” Lay said.
Tax dollars are paying for the project that the city has already spent more than a half-million dollars on.
Lay said it's unclear how much additional taxpayer money will now be spent to put in shoulders and fill in the ditches, but he doesn't consider it a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.
"You're using taxpayer money to fix but you don't think it's a waste of taxpayer money when it should've been right the first time,” the I-Team’s Lindsay Bramson said.
“It should've been done right the first time, I agree. Is it spending more money to fix something? Yes,” Lay said.
“Absolutely it's a waste of taxpayer money,” Alkalouti said.
"We are severely not only inconvenienced but the property has just become dysfunctional,” Hellemans added.
Lay said he expects to know the cost to fix everything sometime within the next two weeks. He will then hold a public meeting in February to go over the new plans with homeowners in Buckner Place so that they know exactly how much it’s going to cost and when it will all be fixed.
The I-Team will continue to follow up on this story.
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