Saluda denies water bill appeal

Published 3:53 pm Friday, August 17, 2012

Part-time residents question 16,880 gallons used
Saluda City Council denied a request of relief for a $335 water bill to part-time Saluda residents who were not living at the home at the time.
Saluda commissioners met Monday, Aug. 13 and denied the appeal by a 3-1 vote. Commissioner Lynn Cass voted against denying the request.
Cappy and Bill Rearick, who are part-time Saluda residents said by letter that last November they closed up their Saluda home and drained the toilets, sinks and washing machine then turned off the water supply valve to the house.
The Rearicks said in December, January and February they received normal bills from the city but in March 2012 they received a bill for 16,880 gallons used.
“That was enough water to fill a 15×30 swimming pool, 5 feet deep, or 8,500 toilet flushes,” said the Rearick’s letter. “No one was living in the house and we had no visitors.”
Saluda City Administrator Erny Williams said that staff visited the home six times to find any issues and none were found. The city’s policy is that an adjustment can be made to a utility bill if a leak is found and residents can show they had the leak fixed.
The meter was tested with no problems found, according to staff.
Williams said once the water goes past meter it’s the customer’s responsibility and that the city has informed people with summer homes they should install a cutoff outside the home at the meter box. This home’s cutoff is at the house, Williams said.
Commissioner Leon Morgan said something had to be left on and it had to be something major. The next month the usage was zero then the next month the usage was 860 gallons, said Morgan.
Commissioner George Sweet said the Rearicks are really nice people, but he doesn’t think there’s anything the city can do for them.

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