Residents of Wake Forest neighborhoods steamed about water mistake

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — It was a packed house at Wake Forest Town Hall Wednesday night as resident of two subdivisions took concerns about their water bill to Raleigh officials.

Residents of Jones Diary Farm and Willow Deer are upset their water bills have gone up after Raleigh officials discovered they’d been undercharging 530 homes for 12 years.

“You haven’t caught up to it until now. It should be grandfathered in,” said one resident.

The city is copping to the error, which was discovered last year by an auditor, but officials say they now have to charge the correct rate. For many, like Chris Humphries, that’s double.

His water bill jumped from $60 to $120, and he doesn’t understand why.

“Why should myself have to pay twice what the guy in my backyard has to pay for the same water? The pipe runs through my street to get to his,” Humphries said.

Raliegh public utilites director Robert Massengill understands the frustration

“If I lived in that subdivision I wouldn’t be happy about it either,” he said.

Massengill says because the subdivisions are outside of Raleigh proper, he’s obligated to charge residents two times what city residents pay. Massengill the higher rate for non-residents is fairly common for municipal utilities and noted that some municipalities charge three times.

One concerns for subdivision residents is the possibility of being backcharged, but Massengill said that won’t happen.

He said he does plan to recommend the rate increase be permanent to Raleigh City Council. However, Massengill will hold off until after next month’s City Council meeting to give residents a chance to speak to councilors directly.

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