INKSTER (WWJ/AP) – A lawyer says Inkster residents and businesses are expected to get refunds on some water bill charges.

Byron Nolen, who represents Terrance Trahey, told the Detroit Free Press that retired Wayne County Circuit Judge Paul Teranes ordered a reduction in water rates from $15.30 per unit to $11.96. Teranes presided over a bench trial last week.

“He said every citizen will get a credit on their account,” Nolen said. “I was a little surprised.”

Trahey received a $6,900 water bill for a three-month period last fall. He argued that new digital water meters weren’t working properly and the city’s sharply higher water rates were in violation of the state constitution and city charter. Nolen says Trahey’s $6,000 water bill was eliminated.

The city started replacing about 9,000 old water meters with new ones 2011. City officials said the old meters had slowed down for years and weren’t providing accurate water readings, so residents were being undercharged.

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

One resident, Tracy Kroll, told WWJ she received a water bill in early October for $4,000. The single mother of two said her usual bill is only a couple hundred dollars, adding that the city gave her no explanation for the astronomical bill.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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