CS Residents Fuming Over Alleged City Over Charges

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Some south College Station residents say the city has been over charging them for years, and now they want their money and some answers.

A storm is brewing in the quiet subdivision known as Creek Meadows. Resident Kelly Minnis said he's been living there for years, and only recently learned College Station Utilities has been charging him about twice as much for sewer services than he should have been.

"My bill always seemed high to me," said Minnis. "But I couldn't really gauge why I felt that way."

Minnis, along with about 1,000 other customers in the area, get their water from Wellborn Special Utility District, but sewer services comes from College Station Utilities.

Director of Water Services Dave Coleman said when they set the system up for residents in 2007, they had no way of tracking water usage from those customers in far south College Station.

"We talked about it at the time, but the logistics of it were just not there," said Coleman.

Their solution was to average out water usage for each customer to the maximum amount of 9,000 to 10,000 gallons per month.

Minnis said he checked his records with Wellborn Special Utility District and found he only used around 6,000 gallons per month. A difference of about $20 per month, and $1500 since he moved into the area.

"It made me wonder how many other folks have been over charged as well," said Minnis.

Minnis took his complaint to the city and had his average rate adjusted. He was also given a credit for six months worth of the money he overpaid.

"It seemed to me like it was actually more of a token gesture instead of giving me my money back," said Minnis.

Coleman said customers should bring in six months worth of bills to get their rates adjusted. Information Minnis said he and others never knew until now.

"It's not really a matter of being over charged, it's a matter of being aware that you need to come in and get it adjusted," said Coleman. "This is the first time that we've become aware that this one gentleman, and perhaps more, were just not aware of how it works."

Coleman said now that they know people may be unaware of the average pricing plan, his office plans to send out letters to all of their affected customers.

Minnis said that's simply not enough. He wants all the money he overpaid refunded to him. He said if things aren't settled, he and others may consider legal action.