News 2 I-Team: Water bills soar with no explanation

The News 2 I-Team is learning new details about why renters in a local apartment complex are staring down water bills that doubled, then quadrupled. Tenants say they can’t pay the water bills that are more than $500.

“It pretty much floored us,” Dana Hawke told News 2’s Rebecca Collett. “It pretty much floored us. I thought it had to be an error.”

It was an error of sorts.  According to a letter Hawke received from the Hibben Ferry property manager, JRK, the $60 to $70 she was paying for water ever month wasn’t actually enough to cover the cost.

According to that letter, someone in a corporate office in California made a calculation error over several months. The number of errors is still unclear.

Now Dana and the other residents at Hibben Ferry have until the end of November to pay one large bill in back payments.

Hawke, who lives only with her fiancé, says there’s no way to pay back such a huge bill along with a new monthly payment of $120.

“Paying that in such a quick time is unreasonable,” she said. “This is right before Christmas. My family is planning for a wedding. “

Plus, Hawke isn’t exactly sure what’s she’s paying for.

“One of my concerns is, with the turnover in any apartment, are we paying for past tenants too,” she wanted to know

There is not an indication of exactly how many months the error occurred or what exactly that error was.

The News 2 I-Team sent six emails to the JRK Property Holdings.  No one answered any of our questions.  We also called several times.  None of the calls was returned.

Through a Freedom of Information request,  the I-Team obtained the property water usage for entire last year.  We found the property is on a shared system where the water comes on one bill and the property management group decides how to divide up the costs.  Looking at the total gallons consumed, we were able to determine there was no significant change in how much water was consumed during the last year.

Even though JRK Property Holdings wouldn’t respond to our requests for information, they did send Dana an adjustment to her $500 bill.  The company gave her  a $124 credit toward the bill. The credit came with no explanation.

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