Thursday, October 11 2012 11:00 AM EDT2012-10-11 15:00:34 GMT
A recent investigation into the Kansas City, MO, Water Services Department exposed how the city decided to tackle unpaid water bills and poor customer service by spending more money. A July investigationMore >
A recent investigation into the Kansas City, MO, Water Services Department exposed how the city decided to tackle unpaid water bills and poor customer service by spending more money.More >
Sunday, August 12 2012 12:06 PM EDT2012-08-12 16:06:22 GMT
A lack of money is something the Kansas City Water Services Department has been lamenting for years. To help offset the costs of a crumbling infrastructure and an ensuing flood of water main breaks, theMore >
A KCTV5 investigation uncovered millions of dollars in untapped revenue; money that could be used to help fix the metro's water woes. Discovered among the 12,000 names on the Kansas City Missouri Water Services Department's list of delinquent bills obtained in late May, some unexpected customers.More >
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
A steady stream of questions from the KCTV5 News investigative team appears to have spurred on a major policy change by the Kansas City, MO, Water Services Department that could finally stop the flow of bills to the one in eight city customers who are not using water.
After 45 years, the agency says it will no longer require residents to pay the cost of digging up their own pipes in order to permanently disconnect from the system.
That change, which could save more than 21,000 customers approximately $3.5 million, comes as welcome news to Kansas City, MO, resident Simmie Crawford. He contacted KCTV5 in early January, confused and upset about the two water service bills he had suddenly received. He said his parents made a request to cancel water service to their home in the Leed's neighborhood back in the 1980s.
"Now I'm getting a water bill, and that's what I don't understand," Crawford said. "The water's been shut off for 33 years."
Crawford said his parents made a request to cancel water service to their eastside home. He said he had no idea that in order to stop all water charges, customers like his parents needed to dig up their pipes to the water main. Since they didn't do that, the inactive account can still accrue monthly service fees.
"The only thing they are doing is taking money out of your pocket," Crawford said.
A city water services spokesperson told KCTV5 late last year, the city decided to dust off inactive accounts and see if they could collect the outstanding fees. The bills went out without warning or explanation, catching people like Crawford by surprise.
Over in the Waldo neighborhood, Betty Pugh was quite surprised to say the least when a bill landed in her mailbox. It's been 15 years since Pugh and her husband had the house next door knocked down to increase the couple's outdoor space.
"We just needed a backyard," Pugh said. "What did we have - about 4 feet of yard in the backyard?"
Since that house was bulldozed, no water has been used at the property. Pugh couldn't imagine why she would be receiving a huge water and sewer service bill for the vacant lot.
"I was kind of shocked," Pugh said. "We had never received a bill. We called, didn't get any help whatsoever. And then my husband talked to someone and they said, ‘You're just going to have to pay that.'"
Unable to convince anyone at KCMO Water customer service that their backyard could not flush a toilet or access a tap, Pugh who lives on a fixed income, paid the bills totaling more than $940.
"It doesn't seem to make any sense," KCTV5 investigative reporter, Eric Chaloux stated while looking over the water bills.
"No, it didn't to us either," Pugh replied. "That was the way it was, so we went ahead and paid it."
The person perhaps most taken aback by a water bill that arrived was Prairie Village, KS, resident Sara Passan.
"Wait a minute, this is KCMO. I'm in Prairie Village, KS," Passan said of the bill she received. "I couldn't believe it would be so bogus."
According to the bill, sent out by the KCMO water department, the owners of "building d f", presumably Passan, owe the city money water and sewer services. Passan called KCMO water customer service for an explanation.
"They were nice enough," Passan said, "but they didn't instill that much confidence. They couldn't tell me why it happened."
But as KCTV5 discovered, it's been at least a dozen years since any building occupied the property in question, not in Kansas, but the middle of Midtown Kansas City. During one of the city's largest ever land acquisitions; the property was turned into a parking lot, surrounded by fast food restaurants and a big box store.
"My biggest concern was they couldn't assure me this wouldn't happen again," Passan said. "They had no idea why it happened."
The water department has since assured KCTV5 that the bills to Passan will indeed stop and that Pugh will get a refund of the $940 bill she paid. A spokesperson thanked the television station for letting the agency know the property no longer includes a house.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
KCTV5 investigates bizarre water bills, questions bring about policy changeMore>>
Wednesday, October 31 2012 9:55 AM EDT2012-10-31 13:55:41 GMT
In an ongoing investigation of the Kansas City, MO, Water Services Department, KCTV5 uncovered a brand new billing problem. Just as the water department promised to create better customer service, residentsMore >
In an ongoing investigation of the Kansas City, MO, Water Services Department, KCTV5 uncovered a brand new billing problem. More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 5:59 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:59:40 GMT
The National Weather Service says there is a slight risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.The threat for severe weather will continue into Monday.StormsMore >
The National Weather Service says there is a slight risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 6:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:47:09 GMT
Imagine suffering a medical emergency in a foreign country, half a world away. It happened to a man from Overland Park, KS, in Japan. Now, his family is trying to come up with a way to get him home whereMore >
An Overland Park family is trying to raise enough money to get their son back to the U.S. from Japan after he suffered a massive stroke in the other country.More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:52 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:52:00 GMT
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.She is recovering at Children's Mercy Hospital with a broken arm, ruptured ear drum and fractured pelvis. Her family isMore >
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:20:10 GMT
The Rachael Ray show flew to New York a puppy that survived a month inside a locked car at Kansas City's tow lot.Ray and guest co-host Regis Philbin fawned over Kia, who was accompanied by Tori Fugate,More >
Television hosts Rachael Ray and Regis Philbin fawned this week over a puppy rescued earlier this month after living nearly a month inside a locked vehicle at Kansas City's municipal impound lot.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 10:50 PM EDT2013-05-18 02:50:11 GMT
A Kansas City woman behind a new youth literacy program celebrated a milestone Friday night and none too soon. Jean Rundle is suffering from a heart condition and in quickly declining health. She neverMore >
A Kansas City woman behind a new youth literacy program celebrated a milestone Friday night and none too soon.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 2:21 PM EDT2013-05-17 18:21:35 GMT
A woman is in custody after she allegedly struck her father in the head with a pistol, Overland Park police said Friday.The woman, who is in her middle 20s, was taken into custody about 11 a.m. This wasMore >
A woman is in custody after she allegedly struck her father in the head with a pistol, Overland Park police said Friday.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 6:00 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:00:49 GMT
A local cab driver is speaking up after a customer pulled a gun on him. A few hours later the same suspect was the target of a standoff with police. "I'm happy to get out of there with my life. Glad toMore >
A local cab driver is speaking up after a customer pulled a gun on him. A few hours later the same suspect was the target of a standoff with police.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 12:47 AM EDT2013-05-18 04:47:49 GMT
For the first time, the University of Kansas awarded two Wounded Warrior Scholarships. The money, of $10,000/year for up to four years, goes to students who are injured veterans or caretakers of injuredMore >
A young marine from Kansas City, KS, was one of two recipients of the University of Kansas' new Wounded Warrior Scholarship.More >