City May Buy Couple's Home

An unusual move by the city of Tyler may soon make one couple's home city property.

Terry Wallace and his wife, Cheryl Garnett live on Barbee Dr., just off of S. Broadway. Because of poor drainage in the area, their home is prone to frequent flooding and sewage backups. Officials from Tyler Water Utilities say they've been called out to the couple's home 88 times in the last seven years to respond to problems.

The city says it does not typically buy homes. In fact, this would only be the second time in the past three decades the city has done so.

"This was a unique circumstance, in that there is about $65,000 worth of drainage improvements associated with the Grande Street Extension Project that are tied to this house," Greg Morgan, operations manager for TWU, said.

Rather than just pay for the drainage improvements, the city decided to buy the house altogether. According to the Smith County Appraisal District, the house is worth $79,000.

If the City Council approves the purchase tomorrow morning, the city says it will close on the house within the next 30 days.

Julie Tam, reporting.