Water woes: City says disabled woman's $5,000 bill is result of one week of water use

"I want an answer to why my bill is that high"
Posted at 11:23 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 07:21:07-04

A disabled Fort Myers woman believes her nearly $5,000 water bill is an error. 

"I still have no answers. no answers as to if something was wrong with my meter," said Sandra Rogers. 

Retired and disabled, Rogers lives on a fixed income. She told Four In Corner she has been in her home for at least 25 years and she has no idea how her July water bill reached $4,633.11.

From may to June her bill slightly jumped.

"My bill went to a $195.00," said Rogers. Seeing the increase, she believed she had a toilet leak which she got repaired. 

She then received a bill for $216.00, but it's her July bill that makes her think her meter may be malfunctioning.

"I want an answer to why my bill is that high, said Rogers.

When Four In Your Corner spoke with Rogers on Monday, she broke down in tears as she explained her concerns about not being able to afford to pay.

I have no where to go if my water gets cut off. I looked it up online, and you cannot stay in your home if your water is off," said Rogers. 

The bill is due on Tuesday. It states she used nearly 140,000 gallons of water.

"Why would you let my bill get to 140,000 gallons of water," said Rogers.

In an email, a city spokesperson said records "show that her water essentially ran nonstop from 9 a.m. on June 26th through 11 p.m. on July 2nd." 

City officials say a letter was sent to Rogers on may 2nd to notify her of the issue.

"Your next bill will show higher water consumption," said Rogers, as she read from the letter she received from the city. While she agrees the city did send her letter, Rogers says it's wasn't in May. 

"On 7/10/17, is the date it was sent out," as she pointed to the date on the letter. 

"I received it the same day I received my high bill for $4,633.11," she added. 

A plumber inspected Rogers home and didn't find evidence of a leak.

She submitted a leak adjustment form to the city on Thursday in hopes of lowering the cost of the bill.

City officials say Rogers reported having a toilet and water heater leak after receiving her bill, on July 13th. 

However, Rogers believes the issue is with her meter.

City officials say her meter was evaluated on Thursday, but the city did not say what happened with the inspection. 

Rogers says she hasn't seen anyone from the city at her home this week, but she hopes they are looking into it.

"It makes zero sense to me that I'm getting stuck with a bill and no one can tell me why," said Rogers.

City Manager Saeed Kazemi said in a statement: "The city is still in the process of reviewing Ms.Rogers leak adjustment which should bring some relief to the bill. As long as the city is still in the process, Ms. Rogers is in no risk of having her water disconnected.