FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Imagine opening up a bill from Fort Wayne City Utilities and being charged for water usage for the past seven years. That’s exactly what Gino Marcano said happened when she recently received a $2,500 bill.
Marcano rents a two bedroom home on Russell Avenue in Fort Wayne with her husband. For the past seven years, they’ve been using water and paying bills online. But her last bill came out to $2,537.82. She said a city official told her she has to pay it by July 7, or her water will be turned off.
“I’m just dumbfounded,” Marcano said. “It’s like I can’t concentrate on anything because I’m thinking, if I don’t have this cash, they’re going to turn my water off.”
She said the city told her it’s because she hasn’t been charged for water since she’s lived in the home. But Marcano showed NewsChannel 15 confirmation numbers of other utility bills she has paid, saying they ranged from $25 to $60.
Marcano’s landlord, Don Smith, was just as surprised by the $2,500 bill.
“They’ve never been late on anything. They’re wonderful people and I can’t speak highly enough of them,” Smith said. “I think it’s not right. It’s [city utilities] error I guess. It’s not her error.”
To try and clear up the confusion, NewsChannel 15 reached out to Fort Wayne City Utilities. Leaders there don’t discuss personal accounts, but spokesman Frank Suarez released a statement saying:
“City Utilities takes time to research all issues that might involve billing for past usage. We have good reason to believe such bills are accurate and that we are doing the right thing. Customers are always welcome to meet with us to discuss a bill and work out a plan…”
That’s exactly what Marcano is doing. She plans to meet with a City Utilities leader on Monday.
“If they waited this long to let me know, then they’re going to have to give me this long to pay them back,” she said.