Homeowners in Gulf Harbors paying twice as much for water

Families struggle with high water bills
Posted at 7:20 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 02:51:43-04

Homeowners living in one New Port Richey community say they’re paying twice as much for water and sewage as people around them.

People living on their own or couples without children are paying close to $300 a month. 

“When I moved down here,” said Debi Jerecki,” who moved to Gulf Harbors last October, “I just never dreamed, never dreamed anything like this.” 

Her last bill was the highest at $246.  

“I’m afraid to go to that faucet and turn it on,” she said,” I use paper plates, paper cups.” 

Diane Ekovich and her husband paid $272.  

“Something’s not right here,” she said. 

They don’t have a pool, haven’t found any leaks and the latest check showed no problems with their meter. 

They only use their dishwasher once a week. 

“I would like to have some annual flowers,” said Ekovich, “I can’t have annual flowers, I can’t afford to water them.” 

She says the high bills started a few years back, after the Florida Governmental Utility Authority took over the previous provider. 

They improved the overall system, but took on more than $20 million in bonds. 

Matthew Rihs, a representative for FGUA, says the recession only added more to their debt.

However, customers are paying less than what they would have if they had stayed with the previous provider. 

“We have had a few other incremental increases that were beyond what we anticipated,” he said. 

He says they could consider bringing prices down once they’ve paid off their debt, in around 23 years. 

“I’m 80 years old,” said Ekovich, “I’m to going to be there that long I don’t think. 

For now Ekovich and her neighbors will save where they can, hoping the next bill isn’t as high as the last. 

“I mean,” she said, “I don’t want to move, I love it here, but I just hope and pray that somebody can negotiate something to make it more reasonable for us to deal with.”