Lake Station, Ind. Resident Stunned By $1,200 Water Bill

LAKE STATION, Ind. (CBS) — Why would a local city threaten to shut off a man’s water? Because he hasn’t paid the bill.

Why hasn’t he paid the bill? Because he says it’s ten times the normal amount and something is fishy.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports Lake Station, Indiana resident James Williams owes more than $1,200 to the city’s water department. He says there’s no way he used the amount of water the city is billing him for.

James Williams is preparing for the worst. The married father of two expects his water will be turned off because he can’t pay the massive, $1,274.05 bill for using 80,000 gallons of water in just two weeks in May, enough water to fill his kids’ baby pool 29 times.

“It just doesn’t make sense to have a 1,200 dollar bill for anybody,” Williams said. “That’s pretty much paying for the whole city, I feel like.”

Williams, a renter, went to the city for help. The home’s owner met with the mayor. Both were told he owes the money, so, we checked into it.

Mayor Keith Soderquist’s office was empty. Later, Soderquist told Kozlov by phone the new metering system indicated a leak or problem, before readings returned to normal. But the mayor acknowledged the city never checked the meter, which Williams says is underground.

“It’s never even been opened,” Williams said.

Neighbor Charles Pierce says he once had a meter problem that the city checked and fixed.

“For them not to come out here and check the meter, I blame the water department for that,” Pierce said.

Williams says he doesn’t know what else to do.

“I know I did not use 80,000 gallons of water,” he said. “I would hear that.”

Mayor Soderquist recommends Williams come back in and talk to him, or set up a payment schedule. He did not indicate there were plans to check that meter.

The water is scheduled to be shut off Thursday.

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