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Homeowner suing Brownwood says city pipe is collapsing his house

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - A homeowner is suing the city of Brownwood, claiming a storm drain under his property had created two sinkholes and damaged his house.

Jerry Shepherd addressed council members during Tuesday's meeting and openly criticized them for what he says is a lack of action to fix a collapsed pipe.

"I feel like I've been ignored. I feel like I've been bullied. And I feel like everything else can be done to me that can be done to me, that finally, it has come to a boiling point," Shepherd said.

According to court documents, Shepherd filed a lawsuit on July 14 at the 35th Judicial District Court claiming a storm drain owned by the city that's running under his home has collapsed. Shepherd said the city installed the drain during the 70s, a few years before his house was built.

"My house, in my opinion, is literally breaking in half," Shepherd said.

In the last two and a half years, two sinkholes have formed near the home's foundation, and both are at least 10 feet deep, according to measurements Shepherd has taken.

Estimates provided by Shepherd and the city showed it would cost from $250,000 to $500,000 to fix the problem.

"Yup, been at a lot of meetings. Yup, you spend a lot of time talking about it. But nothing, not one single thing, has been done," Shepherd said.

Mayor Stephen Haynes pushed back against the criticism Shepherd hurled at council members and said there aren't any good options for both sides to resolve this.

"It's an extraordinary expense for the city to incur that doesn't benefit very many people," Haynes said.

Haynes and Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford toured Shepherd's property Tuesday afternoon after council recessed.

The mayor said the city would face many hurdles if they attempt to repair the pipe.

"How do we keep your house from falling into the hole?" Haynes said.

"That's why we want the city to buy it," Shepherd responded.

Shepherd told council members the only option he'd want is for the city to buy his house and condemn it.

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