Fort Lauderdale residents meet with city officials about expensive water bills

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Residents of Fort Lauderdale’s Imperial Point and Coral Ridge neighborhoods met with city officials to discuss their ever-increasing water bills.

However, residents were left with more questions than answers after city officials told them they did not know the cause of the expensive water bills.

The meeting was held at the Beach Community Center, at 3351 NE 33rd Ave., Monday night.

At the meeting, city officials explained the rates and how residents are charged. But for some, like resident Kevin Rubin, explaining how they’re charged wasn’t seen as a solution to their water woes.

“Everybody says the same thing. ‘Oh, we’ll get back to you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,’ but nothing,” Rubin said.

City official Shannon Vezina said, “What everyone needs us to do is contact us on an individual basis, so we can look at it on an account-by-account basis. We can look through their account history, and if needed, take further steps to investigate a cause.”

Perry Murphy has lived in his home for almost two years.

“We started getting water bills in the $500 to $600, then $900 when we filled the pool up,” Murphy said. “I actually just thought that was unacceptable.”

Murphy’s neighbors have also said their water bills are all over the place.

One neighbor said, “$300, $400, just depends. In summer it’s even worse.”

“Every month when I get my water bill, I am scared to open it because I have no idea what it’s going to be,” another neighbor said.

“These are jumps from $200 a month to maybe $500 to $600 a month without any explanation from the city,” resident Donna Tomey Barahona said.

In February, the city of Fort Lauderdale responded to the residents’ water bill complaints in a statement.

“Residents in Imperial Point contacted the city late last year regarding their utility bills, and our current city manager met with them to hear their concerns. Since then, we have been working with the neighborhood to help them understand our utility billing structure and explore specific concerns on an individual basis.”

“Just can’t afford it. I don’t care what kind of budget you do, your water bill to be four times your electric bill is insane,” Murphy said.

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