First Alert Weather Alert: Flood Warning expires at 10:04 PM on 4/24, issued at 10:04 PM Blackshear, GA | Bristol, GA | Mershon, GA | Millwood, GA

City vs. County: Battle over fixing canal, flooding homes

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Updated: 6/28/2013 6:47 pm
WAYCROSS, Ga. -- A Ware County resident lost some of her most precious memories in a flood this week, and tells Action News the drainage ditch nearby is to blame.

Carolyn Harris lives on Alice Street and says the ditch has been clogged.  She said it's been an ongoing problem for years and that her home can't handle another storm. The flood waters have receded a bit, but the film of residue it left still lines the outside and inside of her home.

"The storm came Monday and 20 years of everything is gone," said Carolynn's granddaughter, Laura Davis.

Two hours worth of heavy rain nearly washed out everything inside the single-story home. Furniture is severely damaged, the carpet had to be ripped out and the drywall is peeling away. Items that hold sentimental value are the most difficult for Harris to part with.

"She's a widow with two children with handicap needs. It's all gone now.  What is she supposed to do?" said Davis.

Action News found out the problem may lie in the drainage ditch, an area neighbors say has been neglected by Ware County officials.

"They're not keeping the ditches cut enough and it's forming, like, a filter for the water and catching all the trash, so it backs the water up; and then when it has nowhere else to go, it ponds in my wife's grandma's yard," said Carolyn's grandson-in-law, Richard Davis.

"Every time we call to get somebody to come out and do something. 'Oh that's the city.  That's the county. No, it's the city," explained Harris.

Action News ran into that same problem when we called. The city told us it was a county public works issue, and said there was nothing they can do. We then made numerous calls to the county public works director, Michael Brooks. We were told he was out of the office, and put on hold for more than six minutes when we called back. No one has returned our calls.

The Acting city manager called us back and said the city was mistaken. Carolyn's home is on city land, but the canal that she says is clogged is part of the county. Still no word yet if, and when the county will fix it.

Neighbors have set up a fund for Carolyn Harris at United Community Bank in Waycross to help replenish what was lost.
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