Think you'd be surprised to get a water bill of over $4,000?
Lisa and Bob Joyce of Munroe Falls sure were, as chronicled in Bob Dyer's Akron Beacon Journal column over the weekend. They were stunned when Munroe Falls sent them a water bill for $4,416.20 over the alleged use of nearly 700,000 gallons of water. They were even more surprised when the city claimed the family of four must have had a leak in their swimming pool.
Problem is, there is no swimming pool on their lot. It turns out Munroe Falls used a satellite image of the property and mistook a trampoline for the pool. But that didn't make any difference to the city, which insists they're still owed $4,416.20 for water over the years, now citing more reliance in the home's inside water meter versus the outside meter the city uses for readings that can be taken more conveniently.
Summit County, which provides sewer services, didn't buy the massive bill triggered by the readings either and dropped the sewer fees that are usually based on water usage.
But that wasn't good enough for Munroe Falls City Hall, in particular Mayor Frank Larson.
Dyer's column quoted Larson, insisting the family owed the money regardless of the city's error identifying a trampoline as a swimming pool, and defending the city's meters as reliable and pushing responsibility for accuracy of the readings on the homeowner.
So much for the slogan the city uses: "Munroe Falls, A Great Place to Call Home."
Larsen doesn't have support of at least one member of Munroe Falls City Council. Councilman Steve Stahl says the city's own service director told him most remote meters are faulty, and most residents of Munroe Falls aren't even remotely aware they're on the hook for any discrepancies despite the fact the city owns both the inside and outside meters.
Stahl tells WAKR's Ray Horner the entire situation is "just terrible" and ought to be compromised. He doesn't understand why it's so difficult to find compromise, since the city has records back to 2008 and the city can easily figure out average water use and take into account any problems.
Stahl says the problem also lies with the city, since water meters are supposed to be compared by water meter readers but the practice has been discontinued for years. A former police chief in Munroe Falls, Stahl notes the city used to perform the service annually or at least every two years. City council has discussed the issue at least three times, he says, but noted Larson turned the issue over to the law director.
Larson did not return calls or emails to AkronNewsNow for additional comment.