HUNTINGTON (KFSM) — A local woman is angry over a water bill that’s more than $1,400. The city says it’s obvious she had a leak, but Owens says that’s not true.
“I know I did not use 129,000 gallons of water,” she said. “And I know I didn't have a water leak.”
Owens said normally her monthly bill is $42.23 per month.
“I'm gone most the time and not even home,” she said. “That's one reason my monthly usage is so low. And to get a $1,428 dollar water bill is just outrageous.”
5NEWS asked Public Works Director Arnold Elmore why Owens’ bill was so high.
“No one was home. Her usage for the month was high, and [her meter] was spinning uncontrollably basically like she had a major water leak,” he said.
Owens’ son-in-law has worked for the City of Springdale and now works for the City of Fort Smith. He did some investigating of his own.
“Me and her dad looked around the house and under the house and didn’t find a leak or any puddles,” he said. “If she used that much water, this whole place would be filled up.”
We asked Elmore for his response to Owens’ claim there was no water leak.
“I don’t know what kind of calculation she uses, whether it's the stars or a medium or what, all I've got to go by is a water meter,” he said.
Owens said the former mayor told her in 2014 she had a bad water meter. Since then she has asked for it to be replaced numerous times, but nothing’s been done.
“With the controversy, we’re not going to change it,” Elmore said. “Because her stipulation was that meter took off racing on its own.”
Elmore added the city will put her on the schedule to change her meter once she meets with the city to set up a payment plan. He also said they will take the sewer charge off her bill, which he said will bring it down to less than $1,000.
“I'm not going to pay for something that I don't agree I owe,” Owens said.
The city shut Owens’ water off on July 11.
Owens says she's disabled and lives on a fixed income. She has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the bill and says people in the community have also stepped in to help.