Getting Results: Monte Sano resident struggled to get city’s help for ditch woes

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Jim Mathison, a longtime resident living on Monte Sano, could not get help resolving a problem caused by the relocation of a sewer line near his house.

“They redug the ditch, regraded the ditch so it would drain, and in the process they’ve cut it, instead of a sloping side, it has a 90 degree drop-off kind of side, and you can’t get near it with a lawn mower,” Mathison told WHNT News 19 on Tuesday.

He’d been told the city had an open work order, but after 18 months went by with no action, he called WHNT News 19.

Since he’d done what he could to get the problem resolved, with no luck, we took action for him.

Mathison’s ditch used to look like his neighbors, with a slight slope that he could mow easily and that allowed for drainage. After the sewer line work, Mathison said it took days to drain. That work was done in 2015. He’d called the city of Huntsville twice, and was told there was a work order. But the work didn’t get completed.

“It’s annoying and frustrating both,” he said Tuesday. “I mean I can’t touch it because it’s a city easement, utilities are running underneath it so I can’t go doing any digging to correct it, and they’ve told me I couldn’t sod it when I asked him previously.”

After we visited Mathison’s home we contacted the City of Huntsville’s Public Works Department.

Preston Whitaker, manager of Public Works Maintenance, called back a short time later. Whitaker said the department was planning to speak to engineering officials about a number of issues on Monte Sano and he said someone would be in touch with Mathison.

Whitaker also said residents can’t just dig or fill-in dirt on a city right-of-way before city officials look at it.

On Wednesday morning, city employees did an assessment of Mathison’s ditch. They went to work a short time later and were finished before noon.

That’s Getting Results.

“Well they dug it out, made it less of an abrupt drop-off to where I can probably get my lawn mower down there, without tripping,” Mathison said. “And they have seeded it and put out straw to hold it in place.”

Mathison was pleased with WHNT’s efforts and the results.

“If you hadn't done what you did, it’d still be the way it was,” he said. “Thank you very much.”