Frustration with water billing system continues for one Rapid City man

RAPID CITY, S.D.(KOTA TV) In September, KOTA News reported a houshold that saw a $10,000 water bill. This was a mistake fixed by the city, but for some people in Rapid City, the frustration continues.

For Gary Oleson, he went away from June to September and asked the city to turn his water off. But when he returned, he got a big surprise. A water bill three times the normal amount.

"I get a bill for $187 when I'm not here. I called and they said they made a mistake, they put my refund check back on my bill," said Oleson. "But I'm going through my bills and everything is not adding up."

Oleson compared two of his bills side by side. One was from the old billing system, one from the new. The bill from the old system had the correct amount he should be charged. His latest bill said he owed $43 dollars, and they deducted money form his account, which had $200 in it. But, his statment showed he ended up paying around $113. Almost $87 went unaccounted for.

"They should take away $43 from $200," said Oleson. So there should be $156.97 down there. It's $113. 87. There is $86.53 missing."

In speaking with the city, they said part of the problem came from their turning his water back on, accounting for a higher bill. But they are now auditing his account to find if there were any mistakes.

"What we had upon his return was his water was restored but he wasn't put into the system that he is now active," said Darrell Shoemaker, Communications Coordinator for the City of Rapid City.

The billing system took time to sort out. And a fee to restore the water was later charged. Although this explains some of the confusion, Oleson still finds the billing system frustrating.

"And they keep saying they have a new system and no one was trained in how to work it," Oleson complained. "So the way I look it, we are paying for them not training their people right."

Shoemaker says if you see a problem, say something.

"If the usage seems to be high or low, check with the city staff," said Shoemaker. "He did that in this instance, and we are continuing to work with him."

If you think you may have a billing problem, contact the water billing department at 605-394-4125.