Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – A local homeowner is facing a $1,000 water bill after the city claims she used 100,000 gallons of water in just one month.
"I can't afford a thousand dollar water bill. It's only a small three bedroom flat ranch,” said Nicole Tate.
When Nicole first saw the bill she thought it had to be a mistake but the city said it wasn’t.
She paid American Leak Detection to come to her house. In the report from the company it states there is no explanation for the high water cost and no leaks in the home.
"I feel like I'm paying the whole additions water bill,” said Tate.
To give you an idea The Environmental Protection Agency says the average American family uses just over 100,000 gallons of water per year and closer to 8-10 thousand gallons a month. Still the city insists the bill is accurate.
"Obviously something was wrong with their meter,” said Tate.
After Nicole first complained to the city they came and replaced the water meter in her house and her bill went back to normal. But the city says the old meter was working properly and she is still responsible for the large bill.
"It's sad to say, they heartless, everybody I've talked to is like, oh well you stuck with it,” said Tate.
Nicole has voiced her concerns to the city, filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and now she has a hearing set with the city for April 30. But as things were starting to look up she received a new notice in the mail. This time telling her the city will disconnect her water on April 22.
"Please don't cut my water off before, for me to have a fair hearing,” said Tate. "I hope to get justice, I didn't do this."
But Nicole is doubtful the hearing will go in her favor.
"Unfortunately I feel like I've already lost,” said Tate.
As she waits and hopes the city won't hold her accountable for the $1,000, they claim she accumulated in February, she continues to pay the new charges each month, which is about $60.
We reached out to the City of Fort Wayne about Nicole’s concerns. Officials with the city explained the process to appeal a utility bill and said requesting a hearing does not mean a customer can get out of paying a utility bill.
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