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 >
Sunday, May 19 2013 11:52 AM EDT2013-05-19 15:52:39 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 said there is a moderate risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.More >
By Ben Brumfield, CNN updated 7:18 AM EDT, Sun May 19, 2013STORY HIGHLIGHTSRichard DeCoatsworth took a shotgun blast to the face in the line of duty in 2007Wounded, he pursued the assailant and calledMore >
A former "top cop," who had the honor of sitting next to first lady Michelle Obama during a televised presidential speech four years ago, is facing rape allegations.
It's all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials...More >
Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million - the highest Powerball jackpot in history.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:27 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:27:31 GMT
Students are calling the death of a Harrisonville teen a rude awakening. Troopers said 16-year-old Savannah Nash pulled in front of a semi Thursday at Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. Savannah wasMore >
The deadly accident near Harrisonville is an opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about texting and driving, but now several smartphone companies have created apps that could put a stop to some of the dangerous behavior.More >
By Jason Moon, CNN updated 2:32 AM EDT, Sat May 18, 2013STORY HIGHLIGHTSThe explosion was caused by a meteoroid that hit the lunar surfaceIt was visible on earth without a telescopeNASA sees hundredsMore >
A meteoroid struck the surface of the moon recently, causing an explosion that was visible on Earth without the aid of a telescope, NASA reported Friday. But don't be alarmed if you didn't see it; it only lasted about a second. More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:40 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:40:22 GMT
A bank on the Country Club Plaza was robbed Saturday afternoon. The FBI reported the Commerce Bank located at 47th Street and Wornall Road was robbed.They have provided little details about a suspect descriptionMore >
A bank on the Country Club Plaza was robbed Saturday afternoon.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:00 AM EDT2013-05-18 15:00:13 GMT
(CNN) – Chances are your smartphone contains some of your life's most important numbers, phone numbers, birthdays, maybe even bank or social security numbers. It's convenient to store so much informationMore >
It's convenient to store so much information in one place, but with wireless threats on the rise, you need to keep your personal data secure.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 5:12 PM EDT2013-05-19 21:12:22 GMT
Passengers on a party bus ended up in the hospital early Sunday morning after a wreck. The crash happened about 3 a.m. on U.S. Highway 71 near Swope Parkway. An ambulance took several passengers to anMore >
A night out on the town ended with several people suffering minor injuries after a party bus crashed.More >