Resident wants Gautier to fix sinkhole in his backyard

Gautier resident Jose Garcia points to a large sinkhole in his backyard.
Gautier resident Jose Garcia points to a large sinkhole in his backyard.

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A Gautier homeowner Jose Garcia said a large sinkhole in his backyard is growing and he blames it on a city owned ditch.

"You can see the hole," Garcia said.

Garcia said, he and his family can't really enjoy their own backyard anymore because of a large sinkhole taking up space.

"A child can fall in there, somebody can get hurt, and my dogs keep escaping."

Garcia said the problem began two years ago, when the city rebuilt a ditch behind his home.

"They laid a flat bed and they laid rocks on that flat bed. When it rains the water will overflow and  it goes over the side and tends to under my shed," Garcia said.

Garcia said, he's called and emailed the City of Gautier at least 50 times to no avail.

"The mayor seems to be concerned. He brought a lawyer from the city, the city manager, but as far as action, I don't see any action being taken care of. I am very frustrated," Garcia said.

Gautier Mayor Tommy Fortenberry came back to Garcia's house Sunday and got into the sinkhole to view the problem.

"It is a problem that has to be fixed and fixed now," Mayor Fortenberry said. "As you can see, it is only a couple of feet from the swimming pool."

The city has now hired an outside engineer to find out what's causing this mess and if the city is actually at fault.

"We must do our do diligence to see what percentage of the burden that the city does bear in this issue," Fortenberry said.

The mayor admitted he believes the city does hold some responsibility for the sinkhole situation.

"I am not a civil engineer, but to my opinion and my opinion only--yes, they do," Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry said, the engineer should have an answer in a couple of weeks. Garcia is eager for the problem to end, so he can finally get his backyard back.

The city made the decision to hire an outside engineer, to take away an bias when making a determination about the issue.

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