City attorney cautions council as it adjusts resident's water bill

Miller/City Hall

City attorney Jerry Miller

FILE PHOTO/News Bulletin
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 02:20 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Under city attorney Jerry Miller’s caution, the city council, in what could be a precedent-setting move, has unanimously agreed to adjust a resident's water bill.

Donald Shaud — after a receiving an $815.57 bill for water service at a residence he had yet to occupy — asked the council at its Oct. 14 meeting to provide relief.

Shaud had met with the Public Works, Utility Billing and Administrative Services departments, as well as city clerk Betsy Roy's office.

Shaud and his wife, Debra, had not yet moved into the Pearl Street residence when they had the water turned on in July while renovating. The house had been vacant for several months.

By digging back from the water meter, a plumber the Shauds hired had traced the leak to a galvanized pipe behind the house. Shaud showed the section of pipe to the council.

"It wasn't my fault," Shaud said of excess water use for which he was billed. "I didn't fill a swimming pool. I didn't turn on a faucet. I had a legitimate leak."

The water and sewage department granted an $89.85 credit for sewage service, but told Shaud the city ordinance did not allow the department to refund excessive water billing.

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