Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tampa Water Department Ripping Off Homeowners?

   When homeowners in a few Tampa neighborhoods received their current water bills in January, more than a few were shocked with the amount of the bill. Some had bills for as much as $2,000 for water usage in December 2010,and, needless to say, they pitched a fit with the water department.

    Of course, the water department told the homeowners that the bills are correct and that maybe the owners had a leaky water sprinkler system, or maybe they had a toilet that was running non-stop. Some homeowners had a bill which was as much as 10 times the normal amount!  Judy Sellers told WTSP10News that her average bill is only  $30.92,but her latest one was $343.32, that is 10 time over the average cost.

The water department says most of the high bills are coming from the New Tampa, Carrollwood, and Dana Shores areas.

"It just defies logic, is all I can say," said council member Mary Mulhern.

   It’s even worse for many others. Check this out.

This week, one homeowner complained her bill went from $41 to $854. Another said her charges shot up from $60 to $563. In all, 17 Dana Shores residents say their bills have skyrocketed.

  So just how bad is this?

Resident Jen Older said her water bill is $854.47. Previous bills averaged about $40. A breakdown showed the city recorded Older's home using 115,948 gallons of water in November and December — about 58,000 gallons a month.

The average Tampa family uses about 6,000 gallons a month, the department said.

  But wait! There’s more!

   Let’s go over to the New Tampa part of the region. In New Tampa we have housing developments such as Tampa Palms, and Hunters Green. These are not your average income areas. Some of these homeowners have been getting the shaft also.

Barb O'Malley of Tampa Palms got her water bill which is $2,500 for using 183,00 gallons of water. That is enough to fill her swimming pool 8 times. Water company inspectors told her that an irrigation leak and an toilet that ran intermittently was the reason for her high bill.           Source

       Tampa Bay Online

Michael Tucker of Hunter's Green had a bill of $2,700 and found one broken sprinkler head in his lawn a day before inspectors visited to check for leaks. The inspector told Tucker that even he couldn't see how a lone malfunctioning sprinkler could account for his billed usage of 207,000 gallons of water.

Tucker said the inspector told him he was writing a report and would test the irrigation system a second time before any adjustments are made to his bill.

"My concern is, even with the adjustment, the bill still has got me using 207,000 gallons," Tucker said.

    Tampa Water has told the Tampa City Council that they will adjust the water usage rate down to their lowest tier rate, Tier0. 

That rate is $1.82 for every 100 cubic feet, or 748 gallons of water, used. The two highest rates in the city's seven-tier system are $10.92 and $16.38, respectively, for every 100 cubic feet of water used.

City officials say unchecked leaks can push homeowners' water use into the highest tiers. The system was created to encourage water conservation.

  This problem is exclusive to just the homeowners either.

According to the Hillsborough County School District, Middleton High School had a $65,000 water bill this month. That's four times the normal bill, even though they didn't have school for two weeks.       Source

  So, I guess that all of those mean high school children must have went to all of the water fountains on their way out the door, and jammed some object into them in order to keep them squirting out the water?