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Delray Beach discovers $5,000 water bill mistake

'I don't think this was an isolated incident,' resident Linda Polly says
Mayor Shelly Petrolia message to Contact 5 about $5,000 water bill
Posted at 12:53 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 12:53:17-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Just one day after Contact 5 started asking questions about Linda Polly's inconsistent water bills, the city of Delray Beach said it discovered a $5,000 mistake.

"I'm pleasantly surprised I'm getting a refund," Polly said.

Polly told Contact 5 that she initially became suspicious when charges for a sprinkler meter, which she said suddenly appeared last year, suddenly disappeared from her most recent water bill. There's also no reference on her bills to reclaimed water, which she said feeds her sprinkler system.

In an email to Contact 5, a city representative said Polly's "account should have been updated and sprinkler charges should have stopped" when a new irrigation reclaimed meter was installed in July 2015.

"I can't believe that I'm the only person who was billed incorrectly," she said.

Polly said the city told her this is an isolated incident.

Linda Polly glad Delray Beach admitted to $5,000 water bill mistake
Delray Beach resident Linda Polly says she's glad the city admitted to its $5,000 water bill mistake, but she doesn't think it's an isolated incident.

It's the latest billing blunder plaguing the city's utility department, which is now in the process of trying to hire a forensic auditor to examine and investigate meters and bills.

Since last year, Contact 5 has discovered erroneous five-figure water bills sent to homeowners, customers not charged for water for a year and a half and now this.

"I'm concerned because I think there is a bigger problem," Polly said.

Mayor Shelly Petrolia has the same concern. In a statement to Contact 5, she asked, "How many others are out there?" and called the situation "absolutely unacceptable," saying it "must be fixed before any public confidence can be restored."

Although thankful for the refund and the city's action, Polly is concerned about her neighbors and their bills.

"I don't think this was an isolated incident," she said. "I think there are other people who have been billed incorrectly and I think the city needs to get this straightened out."

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