Highland Park man says he received $4,000 water bill

Highland Park man says he received $4,000 water bill

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By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WJBK) -- "It's not fair to the people that stay in Highland Park," said Morris Barnes.

Bares was stunned.  He said right before the holidays, he received a water bill from Highland Park that showed he owed $4,000, and he said he doesn't drink the water out of the faucet.  He buys bottled water.

"When we got our $4,000 bill, we couldn't believe it because we don't use that much water here."

Barnes is not alone.  After not receiving a water bill for nearly a year, residents and business owners throughout the city have been slammed with bills ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.  They've also received a notice that explains it's all part of the Water Recalculation Assessment Program and if at least a quarter of the total is not paid within 30 days, their water will be shut off.

"I can't afford to pay," Barnes said.

Concerned residents attended the council meeting Monday night looking for some sort of explanation from Mayor Deandre Windom, who apologized for what he called an inconvenience.

"What we tried to do was revamp our system.  It took us longer than we anticipated, and as we started doing this, we started incurring more problems," Windom explained.

The mayor said the city discovered there were some residents and business owners who were never charged for water and that during the last seven years the sewage rate tripled and what Highland Park owed Detroit Water and Sewer was never passed down to the people.

Although the letter clearly states failure to pay a portion of the bill in full will lead to shut off proceedings, the mayor promises that's not the case.

"If a person has a problem with their water bill, we want them to come up to city hall, okay, because we want to work throughout this process," he said.

Barnes hopes that is true because in the last 50 years he said he has lived in his home, he has never seen a water bill so high.

"They should give you more time," he remarked.  "They go to a whole year, they should give you up to a year to pay for it."

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