WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — A former Warner Robins man claims the city made his home unlivable by breaking his water main cover and a pipe in his front yard.
The home is located at 214 Madrid Street, just a few miles from Warner Robins City Hall.
No one ever wants to be able to pick up a broken piece of metal, especially one that protects their water source.
Robert Mullis grew up in Warner Robins.
"No previous tenants. My family has owned this house since it was built," Mullis said.
Mullis says in October 2019, City of Warner Robins crews were on his street repairing a water main.
"They had a lot of trucks and equipment and one of the trucks backed into my yard," Mullis said.
That's when he says they broke his water main cover and the pipe carrying water into his home, which caused a major leak.
"They were reluctant to take responsibility for it," Mullis said.
Mullis says he got stuck with the repair bill.
"I just don't understand it," Mullis said.
He could not afford to get it fixed or to pay the huge water bills, so he says one year later, they shut his water off.
"We couldn't stay here. We couldn't bathe. We couldn't flush the toilet," Mullis said.
Paper records show the city continued to bill him through 2020 into 2021.
"I am trying to pay the bill, and that wasn't the first bill that was outrageous. I paid almost $800 bills before because of the water leak and there was no help. No patience or none of that," Mullis said.
Mullis says it's been three years now and the city hasn't accepted responsibility.
"Frustration is involved in not being able to fix it, especially over a long period of time," Mullis said.
The unlivable situation, Mullis says, forced him out of his family home.
"I don't have a lot of faith in the city taking responsibility for something that has happened years ago," Mullis said,
Mullis says he now lives with his son in Milledgeville, but he checks on the home every week.
Mullis says he has reached out several times to former Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms and then to current Mayor LaRhonda Patrick.
"People's belief in the fact that you deserve aid, that you'll receive it, is a myth. If it happens, it's a miracle, and most of the time, it doesn't; and I have to understand, it is my responsibility," Mullis said.
13WMAZ reached out to the City of Warner Robins Tuesday evening.
Late Wednesday afternoon, City Clerk Mandy Stella sent a brief statement:
"Mr. Mullis’ situation is unfortunate. According to our records, the meter at 214 Madrid Street was not damaged by the city and Mr. Mullis is not a current or former utility customer. Account information for the residence specified in the complaint can be requested through an open records request with the city and property information is accessible through the Houston County Tax Assessor and Superior Court websites.”
County tax records, including a deed, say a lending company foreclosed on the home in 2019, but Mullis says "it is not foreclosed and he has full control of the property."
The city continued to provide water service into last year.