City of Phoenix responds to resident's $1,600 water bill -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

City of Phoenix responds to resident's $1,600 water bill

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The City of Phoenix Water Services Department is responding to a CBS5 report from Thursday about a family of six receiving a $1,600 water bill.


The Doughty family has lived in their Phoenix home for the past six years. Their average water bill since late 2010 has fluctuated between $39 and $45 each month.

Ken Kroski, spokesman for the City of Phoenix Water Services Department, tells CBS5 a recent accident at the Doughty's home brought water crews to the home to check if the water meter had been damaged.

Kroski says crews discovered the meter had not been damaged in the accident, instead it had been malfunctioning for several years.

When crews check your water usage, they drive through your neighborhood with a reading device that detects a wireless signal sent from your meter. The numbers being relayed from the meter at the Doughty's home were missing one or two digits, under reporting their true water usage, according to Kroski.

So why should the Doughty family be responsible for broken or malfunctioning city equipment?

Kroski says Arizona law (ARS 12-543) allows for an entity to recoup costs due to a mistake dating back three years.

"It breaks our heart to have to do this," Kroski said.

Kroski said the Doughty's bill averaged between $100 and $150 up until 2010 and one month that year the bill dropped dramatically and leveled off for the past four years.

Jason Doughty disputes that, saying his bill fluctuated wildly throughout 2010. Doughty says he correlated a steady decline in his bill to his installing new high efficiency toilets in the house and low-flow shower heads.

"The amount has to be paid," said Kroski. "It has to be fair to everyone."

The Doughty family does have the option to appeal.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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