By Jon Delano

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It’s one of the most affordable utility bills we get.

But a couple hundred residents in Springdale would beg to differ.

“The total amount due was $2,677,” Jennifer Hair of Springdale told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday, as she read her bill out loud.

When Hair got her water bill from Springdale Township, she thought it was a joke.

After all, she doesn’t live in a mansion.

“I have a trailer and I have a 6-year-old daughter,” she said. “I’m a single mom.”

She is hardly alone.

Perhaps as many as one-third of the community’s 750 households have been affected with bills hundreds of dollars above normal.

“Years ago, I been here 31 years, and I ain’t never seen anything like this,” says Dana Strellec of Springdale.

So what’s going on with these meter readings?

Springdale officials tell KDKA that the problem began last June with a lazy meter reader, a particular individual who did not look at the meters but simply wrote down numbers, falsifying figures, about water use.

The problem wasn’t discovered until this past December, so you can imagine the mess that it has left with billing.

Township Commissioner Tim Sweet is responsible for water and sewage, and he, too, got an inflated water bill.

Delano: “Has your water bill been accurate?”
Sweet: “No.”

Sweet’s been overcharged hundreds of dollars, too.

“We’re working really hard to straighten this out. We don’t want to anger any of our residents. We’re going to fix the problem,” the commissioner insists.

But another problem — faulty meters.

“We have a few bad meters out there,” says Sweet.

Sweet says the township will fix the problem and has new meter readers getting accurate readings.

Some residents aren’t so sure.

“At the last council meeting, they said they would start reading meetings on the first. Today’s the 5th. Nobody has been around,” observed Angela Hare of Springdale.