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Heidi Furr had a problem that on the surface sounded like a case of the absurd. The mix matched pavement in her east Mecklenburg neighborhood shows where the city of Charlotte had come along to put in new sewer lines.
"This is where it went down," said Furr pointing to the patched road. "But notice how it stops right there."
Furr lives a couple blocks deeper into the neighborhood where she recently had a chance conversation with her neighbor. He mentioned a problem with his water bill. He told Furr she ought to re-examine her own. She did and noticed a 350% increase.
Her Farmwood North neighborhood was annexed into Charlotte back in 2009. The city came in a few months later and said it'd be happy to hook everyone up to municipal sewer. Furr said she ran the numbers.
"A total of $8,000 to get city sewer, to get it attached to our house," said Furr. "I said $250 every three years to pump my septic is a better deal."
So she was opting out. She still has the blank application the city sent her, so imagine her surprise to find a $30 monthly sewer line charge on her bill.
"There's no sewer line even on my street," said Furr.
Michael Bednarik was hit up as well.
"We're not talking about a small money either," said Bednarik.
He was charged more than $500 for something he didn't want and didn't have.
"There's got to be a complete disconnect between the guys that are out on the street and guys that are doing billing," said Bednarik.
Bednarik got his money back. So to did Furr's other neighbor who had alerted her to the problem, yet CMUD was telling her they would have to come out and verify the sewer line didn't go to her house.
"It does not make sense that they would have to send somebody out and a pay a city employee to go do this per house," said Furr.
If all that isn't mind boggling enough, Furr said the extra billing started before any lines in the neighborhood were even finished.
"They didn't even follow their own process," said Furr.
A Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities Department (CMUD) spokesperson tells WBTV in an email, "a clerical error associated with transferring thousands of accounts and customers during the annexation process" was the source of the problem.
"I want my money back," said Furr.
CMUD says she will get. The department is in the process of making a "billing adjustment." As to why bills were going out before the sewer line was finished, the spokesperson says the department is looking into it. CMUD says the area annexed was complicated because the area was a mix of private systems purchased by the city and areas were mains had to be extended.
Bottom line check your bills closely and report any discrepancies immediately.