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Inkster Residents: We’re Soaked By Water Bills

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INKSTER (WWJ/AP) - Residents upset over water bills in Inkster say they’re being charged thousands of dollars after the city installed high-tech meters.

Inkster officials are pledging to work with residents on the payments, but those who owe more than $350 are going to lose their water if they don’t call city hall.

“We’re going to sit down with each person individually who has a problem and work out a payment plan,” said Councilman Michael Canty.

Canty told the Detroit Free Press that the old meters had slowed down for years and weren’t providing accurate water readings, so residents were being undercharged. Then the city installed new digital meters, which can be read remotely from city offices.

Canty said the new meters created a “balloon charge,” increasing some residents’ bills to catch them up on underpayments going back years.

Hundreds of people attended a meeting Thursday night to complain about their skyrocketing bills, like Olivia Mingo, who said she regularly paid $50 but now owes $1,300.

“I’m up to $1,300 and I can’t pay that!” Mingo said. “I used to get bills like $50, $60, and that was back when I had five children in the house.”

Terry Trahey held up a $6,900 bill for a three-month period. He said a typical monthly bill was about $230.

More than 100 people at the meeting paid $20 each for a possible class-action lawsuit against the city.

Councilman Marcus Hendrickson said a class action is “definitely not the solution” because it will waste taxpayers’ money on legal fees, the Free Press reported.

For more information, residents can contact Inkster City Hall at 313-563-4232.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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