ANDERSON, Ind. -- A woman fighting her own town over a high water and sewer bill finally had her day in court.
CBS4 Problem Solvers first met Anessa Jacobs in February. Jacobs' bill spiked to nearly $1,000 back in October after her water meter showed she had been going through hundreds of gallons of water an hour for a week.
"I was totally surprised to see a bill going from 100 dollars up to almost a thousand," Jacobs said.
Plumbers we talked to agreed, saying it was unusual to see usage spike that much without an explanation.
No one could point to an exact cause of the spike, which left Jacobs fighting the town over the bill, which she didn't think was correct.
Jacobs finally had her day in court last week, where her attorney and the town each argued their case before a commissioner. The town's water superintendent brought a water meter with him, showing the commissioner that in order for it to register a spike in usage, water would have had to flow through it. Other town officials testified under oath that Jacobs told them she had been on vacation during the spike.
Jacobs said that is not correct and she submitted her work records for the week in question.
However, without an explanation for the high usage, the commissioner ultimately ruled for the town, meaning Jacobs lost and had to pay the town back.
"I don’t even want to live there anymore, I really don’t," Jacobs said. "I can’t even begin to explain how unhappy I am with the results."
Jacobs said that while she is disappointed, she hopes her story will get the word out that homeowners should know how their water system works, and keep an eye on their meter and usage to avoid a huge bill like this.
Plumbers echoed those sentiments to CBS4 Problem Solvers. You can find more information and tips, watch the video at the bottom of the story at the link here.
"The bill’s already been paid, the town’s already got their money, so unfortunately no victory for me. But at least I got the word out, hopefully someone else can play off of this and hopefully they won’t let this happen to them," Jacobs said.
Town attorney Michael Austin sent this written statement to CBS4 after the hearing:
“The Town of Edgewood appreciates the fact that the Court, at the hearing which was held on May 4, 2017, rejected Anessa Jacobs’ lawsuit against the Town.
The Town recognizes that Ms. Jacobs had a bill for water and wastewater of about $1,000 for the month of September, 2016. Unfortunately, the Town’s investigation determined conclusively that the water meter at Ms. Jacobs’ home was functioning properly. Therefore, the unusually high bill was correct. The Town can only assume that there was a leak or malfunction at Ms. Jacobs’ home.
A Town of Edgewood customer like Ms. Jacobs is billed for wastewater based on the number of gallons of water that is used at her residence. Wastewater from the Town of Edgewood is routed to the City of Anderson sewage plant. Then, the City of Anderson bills the Town of Edgewood for wastewater that is treated at the City’s plant. If Ms. Jacobs was not charged for her water use and for the wastewater that was generated by her home, the Town’s other utility customers would end up paying more than they should.
The Town of Edgewood regrets that it could not adjust Ms. Jacobs’ bill. The Town, however, as confirmed by the Court’s decision, believes that it had no choice but to deny Ms. Jacobs’ request for a credit. The denial of Ms. Jacobs’ request was made in an effort to be fair to all of the Town’s water and sewer customers, and in an effort to be consistent with other decisions the Town has made about adjusting utility bills.”