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By David Knopf/Richmond News
Orrick resident Patricia Norcross told the city council Sept. 9 that her most recent water bill was five times the usual amount, jumping from the usual $40 to around $200.
Norcross, 204 W. North Front St., said the bill showed that she’d used around 16,000 gallons, up from a typical month’s 1,500 to 2,000, and couldn’t be explained.
She had her home checked for leaks and none were found, she said, and Public Works Supervisor Dale Bosley inspected outside hose connections and said they were dry with no evidence of a leak. The woman told council members that she washes clothes just once a week and that there is no apparent leak there or with other water connections.
“I can’t take showers,” said Norcross, who is physically limited and unable to step into the tub. “I honestly don’t know what’s going on. I know if we can’t resolve this, I’ll have to work out a payment plan.”
The woman said she is on Social Ssecurity and having to pay the $200 bill at once would be a hardship.
City Clerk Tricia Wartenbee said Friday that Bosley had installed a new water meter at her home and would take a new reading Sept. 17.
Until then, City Attorney Kevin Baldwin suggested that the city hold off on trying to collect any part of the bill.
“I would say hold in abeyance any payment until you figure out what’s going on,” he said. “They want to do a further investigation to see if there’s a problem over there, a leak, or if you’re the victim of a crime,” Baldwin later said.
The possible crime referred to would involve someone hooking a hose to an outside spigot and stealing water.
While Norcross had the council’s attention, she also asked about the ongoing problem of potholes on city streets and alleys.
“I have people who come and pick me up to go grocery shopping and they get lost in those holes,” she said.