DeKalb woman gets $19,000 water bill

Troya Bishop could hardly believe the price on her last water bill from DeKalb County: $19,571.91.

Simply put, it couldn’t be right or anywhere near right. Bishop lives in an average-sized house near Exchange Park in south DeKalb, with only two other people. With the joys of summer upon them, the three have been away often and not using much water at the home, Bishop told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

The bill was also bizarre for another reason: it was the “corrected” bill. Bishop, who works as executive director for Atlanta nonprofit Parental Empowerment Institute, received her first eyebrow-raising charge a few weeks ago: $858.58.

“I know people in the area who have swimming pools and they don’t pay that,” Bishop said.

For years, Bishop had simply paid her water bills without worrying whether the charges were correct.

Now she complained to the water department, which has been dogged in recent months by billing mistakes as officials pledged to do better. Employees apologized to Bishop and assured her there would be a correction.

Then she opened the envelope last week to see that the county apparently thought she was running a water park over by Exchange Park.

“The first thing I did was laugh,” she said. “For the corrected bill to be $19,000, we just laughed.”

But she also became “really irritated.”

She snapped a photo of the invoice and posted it to Facebook.

“If you know anyone in the DeKalb (water department), please tag them in this post!” she wrote, using the tongue-in-cheek hashtag, #icantpayforwaterforthewholecounty.

Commissioner Nancy Jester saw the post and had her assistant contact Bishop. The assistant called on Sunday, which impressed Bishop.

On Monday, someone with the water department called and said a correction was on the way. A county spokesman also told the AJC the bill was fixed.

Bishop hopes so.

She still hasn’t see the latest “correction.”

But whatever the next bill holds, she said she’ll be watching the price much more closely from now on, every month.

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