Every month, the bank account held by the Greenville Arts Council is automatically drafted by the City of Greenville for its water, sewer, garbage and trash service.
The amount varies monthly, but it generally is between $70 and $100.
In March, the account was drafted for $641. That’s almost 10 times the average amount for a month.
Employees from GAC contacted the Greenville City Water Department and were told the amount was so high because the city had to catch up on billing cycles missed in the last six months.
They were told by the city water department the city had not been reading their water meter, yet each month the water bills show a previous usage amount and a current usage reading. The account has been drafted each of the last six months, without fail, for a different amount based on the readings on the water bill.
After February’s winter storm where the city was left with a limited water supply and most homes dripped water faucets in preparation of freezing temperatures, many people have since seen a concerning amount of money owed on their water bills.
Many residents who say they had no water access at all for nearly two weeks are also seeing unusually high bills.
Janie Carlisle, bookkeeper for Reed-Joseph International Company, said there has been a significant increase in their business’ water bill.
With no leaks and no water usage during a two-week period, Carlisle said they believe this is the fault of the Greenville Water Department.
“Our company, R-J International, had a $416 water bill for two months from the Greenville Water Department. Our average water bill is $60 a month. We called and complained that there is no way we used this much water in two months. A man came a rechecked the meter and it is still reading the same. That may be the case but something on their end is not right,” she said. “We have had no leaks and we did not use water for two weeks because we were not at work because of the storm. This is ridiculous. We should not have to pay for whatever mistakes the Greenville Water Department as made or the mayor’s mistake for not being prepared for a storm. The average person makes $800 a month. I do not see how they can get away with charging everyone in town this much for water.”
Mayor Errick Simmons conducted a press conference Wednesday to address growing concerns regarding water bills among the community.
“We wanted to do this press conference today to not only express compassion, but to also express the same concern that you all are having regarding water billing concerns here in the City of…