Water bills skyrocketing in Greenacres mobile home park?

Questions raised about sudden jump in utility cost

GREENACRES, Fla. - Residents in a Greenacres retirement community say they are paying hundreds of dollars more than they used to for their water bill.

Some people at Lago Palma mobile home park spoke to their elected officials about water bills that they say have skyrocketed in recent months.

Everytime Bonnie Benamar turns on the faucet or flushes the toilet, she wonders if her money is just going down the drain. "Most of the bills were way out of line," she said.

Dozens of residents at Lago Palma said they property managment company, Lakeshore Communities, is suddenly charging too much for water. In some cases, residents reported monthly bills of five hundred or six hundred dollars.

"This isn't a rich community," said Benamar. "We're seniors living on fixed incomes."

Lakeshore property management has permission from Palm Beach County to charges its own residents for certain utilities. The company recently installed water meters to gauge how much water a resident is using and should be charged for. It is illegal to make a profit off of any county-provided utility.

Benamar said Lakeshore's meters and math may be way off. It is not just the residents raising questions.

"We have people feeling like they're being taken advantage of and that was the biggest concern to me," said State Representative Dave Kerner, (D) District 87. Kerner said he is receiving complaint after complaint from his constituents living the in the 55-plus community off of Lake Worth Road.

"When I see water bills that are five or six hundred dollars for a single wide trailer, I'm certainly going to investigate further," said Kerner, who is now asking residents to hand over their water bills to see if the county is really providing as much water as the residents are being billed for. "This is their home and they deserve to be protected," he said.

Kerner said he has spoken with management from Lakeshore about the situation but has not yet been provided adequate information and documentation about what is an ongoing and unresolved issue.

Multiple NewsChannel 5 requests for comment were not returned Tuesday night.