The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury has now weighed in on a debate over repair costs to a woman’s home in La Vergne, following the backup of the city sewer into her home three months ago.
As NewsChannel 5 first reported, the La Vergne city administrator initially said the city wasn't liable for repairs to 88-year-old Gertrude Phillips’ home, because the specific backup, which the city says was caused by a build-up of grease in the sewer line, could not have been predicted.
But following a La Vergne city council meeting on February 2, the council approved a motion to look into the situation, and possibly pay up to approximately $30,000 for repairs to Phillips’ home.
But Phillips said she still hasn't seen any money; an opinion from the comptroller’s office may explain why.
After the February 2 meeting, Richardson said the city asked for and received guidance from the state comptroller's office and the city attorney, who both said they do not believe the city was authorized to pay Phillips any money, because they say the city wasn't negligent, and there wasn't any prior notice of a specific backup.
Phillips said she doesn’t buy that argument.
“I wish they'd come and live in it,” Phillips said. “How quick would they want it done? Would they want it in their house that long?”
City leaders said they do feel bad for Phillips, and they want to help her, but they say they simply have to go by the book.
Some of Gertrude's neighbors have set up a crowdfunding site to help pay for repairs to her home.