When longtime Grenada resident Cora Ford-Ingram received her water bill last month, she had only one word to describe it: “Ridiculous.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this and something has to be done about it,” Ford-Ingram said. “No one’s going tell me that I used this much water in July.”
Ford-Ingram said her July water bill exceeded $700 and she knew of other residents that received statements from the city just as high as her bill and even higher.
“This threw me for a loop and in my opinion, the city is moving too slow in correcting it,” she said.
Ford-Ingram, who operated the Grenada Soup Kitchen for more than 20 years said she is responsible for four water bills, which include the soup kitchen, the thrift store that she operates and two homes. She said she didn’t recognize what had occurred until she received her bank statement showing how much she had been charged for her bill.
“This is serious and folks can’t pay this type of money for water bills,” Ford-Ingram said.
The 74-year-old Grenadian added she knew of one elderly woman who was charged more than $1,000 for her water bill and had not even been in Grenada because she was visiting family out of town.
“She told me that she was going to pay the bill,” Ford-Ingram said. “The poor thing hadn’t even been home to use water and was charged that much.”
Grenada city officials said last week the problem has been detected and will be resolved.
According to Grenada City Manager Stan Amos the incorrect invoicing was caused by an issue with the meter-reading software. He added that the issue is currently being resolved and said that adjustments will be made.
“We are making the necessary adjustments around the board,” Amos said. “We do realize that there was a breakdown and we want citizens to know that we are working on this right now.”
Amos said that water officials are planning to send out notices to the citizens about the corrections that will be made.
In Holcomb, Jewel Gaston said that her water bill doubled and was told that a leak was her problem.
“My bill stated that I used 30 gallons of water an hour on June 18; I’ve never used that much water,” Gaston said.
Gaston said she performed her own experiment to prove that she did not use that much water and didn’t have a leak in her home.
“I poured Kool-Aid in the tank of my toilet and in the morning the water in the bowl was still clear,” Gaston said. “That determined that my water wasn’t running.”
Gaston said her granddaughter’s water bill also climbed from $40 to $140 during that month.
Amos concluded that several customers experience bills that were higher than normal because of this glitch. He said that the software issue caused a lot of data from previous months to register on customers’ bills. As a result, the bills were issued out and were more than normal.