Water users argue bills
by Chance Wright
Sep 05, 2012 | 2454 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
City water bills were the hot topic of discussion Tuesday night at the Cleveland Board of Aldermen meeting.

Some residents in the city, which maintains over 6,000 water meters, said that their August water bills were nearly double those from July, and they came out in numbers to express their concerns.

"There are quite a few upset citizens out there because we have noticed that some of our water bills have nearly doubled," said Clarence Coleman, a resident who lives in the East Gate subdivision of Cleveland. "I have talked to some of my neighbors who told me that their water bills have also nearly doubled. Most of the people living over there are on a fixed monthly income and we just want to know why our bills have increased so much."

Sam Jones of Jones Enterprises, a business that operates multiple car washes and Laundromats around the Delta agrees.

"Cleveland water is high," said Jones. "I operate in other nearby cities with similar usages and Cleveland's rates are just higher. My last bill in Indianola was $150 compared to $340 in Cleveland."

"Do you have a leak somewhere," asked Alderman Gary Gainspoletti.

"I paid my water bill today and it was nearly double," said another resident on city water. "I don't have a leak. I called the water department personally and they sent someone to my house and he checked for leaks."

"Are you inside the city limits," asked Mayor Billy Nowell. "If your residence lies outside the city limits then your water rates are double that of inside the city limits."

According to Keith Christopher of ST Services, the city expected to see increases in water bills during the last billing cycle.

"The city of Cleveland pumped 82 million gallons of water during the month of August," he said. "That is the second largest total for any month historically that I know of.

"Also, a lot of people don't realize that water usages do go up," Christopher continued. "People tend to use more water without really realizing it. People tend to water yards and wash more during periods of hot weather. All across the town, from one side to the other, water bills are up this month simply because we pumped 82 million gallons of water."

Christopher added that during times of high water usage like these that they average somewhere between 30-50 calls a day from residents requesting that someone come out to their residences and check their meters.

"Any resident can call city hall and request a re-read of their water meter," said Christopher. "Tell them that your bill is up and they will send a man out there to check the meter. Someone will come out and check to see if a commode is running or maybe a sink is leaking. While we can't do much more than that as far as leaks are concerned we will come out and try to help you anyway we can. This is a courtesy call and does not cost anything."