ONLY ON 3: Water bills piling up for dead man’s heirs

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man says he’s been getting bills from CFPUA for his dead brother. The bill is now thousands of dollars, and it turns out his family may be responsible for the charges.

“I tried to turn the water off and got a bill a few months later for water,” said John Scott. “It shows it no usage it shows it on the bill. The account before that was zero usage and the account now is zero.”

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That’s because the bill is for a home once owned by his brother who died in 2010. The bill now totals more than $1700 and is addressed to the heirs of Gordon Dean Gantt, Scott’s brother. That bill isn’t for use of water though, it’s a bill for something else.

Mike McGill with CFPUA says the charge is for the base charge just to have access to water and sewer. It adds up to around $25 a month but over time that adds up

“We still have plants to maintain, we still have 1,000 miles of water line to maintain and 1,000 miles of sewer line to maintain,” McGill said. “(The bill is) for the base charge, and part of that is understood, but if you’re not consuming you don’t have that part of the bill.”



He says this is a standard charge that pays for things you can’t see or don’t think about.

“The base charge is for the fact that you have hydrants on your lines that work and protect that property in case there is a fire. You’ve got water and sewer service available,” McGill said.

Scott understands that to a degree.

“Set in stone rules that just frustrate me, I can’t even talk about it I get so frustrated I can’t even talk about it, but it is just absurd,” Scott said.

They filed for foreclosure on the house, 4 years ago, but the bank hasn’t taken over. McGill says until the owner of the house changes the bills will keep coming but Scott says he’s not paying it.

“They’re doing it wrong,” Scott said.

The only way to stop getting charged those base charges is for the house to be declared uninhabitable. McGill says that is a high standard to meet.