BELLEVILLE, Ill. – A homeowner in Belleville never dreamed he’d be dealing with such a problem at 86 years old.

But Robert Payne and his wife, Mallie, 75, are dealing with sinkholes in the backyard that are growing deeper by the day.

The City of Belleville is to blame for the problem, due to old underground sewer pipes. The city has been moving forward to try to solve things, but it’s been a painful journey for the Paynes.

One of the sinkholes is about three feet deep. Robert says he’s been calling the city for nearly two years.

The city found other problems in the yard before discovering the sinkholes.

Robert and his wife are fed up.

“I want it fixed. That’s my thoughts, cause I’m tired,” he said.

Mayor Patty Gregory says the board of aldermen has already approved designating funds to fix the problem – about $169,000. According to the mayor, the sinkhole problem should be taken care of sometime in December.

Gregory apologized for the delay.

“My view is that I think government procedures take too long in general. Oh yes, it’s going to get done, if I have to go out there and do it myself,” she said. “And I do know how to dig plenty of holes because I love gardening. But no, I will make sure. And I hope they do accept my apology for taking so long.”