Customer concerned after water bill skyrockets

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - A Walnut Ridge Water and Sewer customer is upset after a large utility bill hit their mailbox for August.

The City of Walnut Ridge claims there is no error on the city’s side of the water bill, but the Johnson family is saying it’s not their fault either.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp says he trusts in the efficiency of his meters and reading system.

“If you have a leak, call a plumber. It will save you money in the long run, but the meters are accurate,” said Snapp.

He explained that the city must pay for whatever water goes in or out of a home.

He even stressed that no one is padding their pockets at city hall.

“If it leaks and goes into the system, and the city treats it, residents owe for it,” said Snapp.

The fact remains that Heather Johnson, who lives near Williams Baptist University, has a water bill for this month totaling $316.23, which with a family, is hard to pay every month, on top of other accounts.

She called a local plumber who found one leak, but Johnson said it had been there since she bought the home.

“They could not find any leaks,” said Johnson. “They found a small, like where the shower had leaked around the rim, but it had done that for as long as I could remember living in the home, which has been three and a half to four years.”

When the August bill arrived in her mailbox, she didn’t believe it was real.

“There is just no way I used that much water. There’s no way we could have consumed that much water,” said Johnson. “We would have had to have every faucet in the house running nonstop to do that.”

Now, Johnson is speaking out, fearing another hefty water bill arriving for September’s usage.

“I’m afraid it’s going to happen to me next month. This is half of my house payment. I can’t afford that,” said Johnson. “Your water bill is supposed to be your cheapest bill unless you’re just ridiculous with it.”

She says her interaction between water works and herself makes her feel stuck.

“I feel like they should hear us out when we say we do not have a leak. If we do not have a leak, it’s just that, we don’t have a leak,” said Johnson. “You should trust in people that live in your community. Not everyone who calls you complaining about their bill is a liar, or they’re being dishonest.”

Mayor Snapp told us that the city could only help so much, but he stands behind his employees and water and sewer system.