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Water bills putting homeowners under water

Residents of the Southfork Subdivision in unincorporated El Paso County at the northeast corner of Falcon Highway and Curtis Road are unhappy with their water supplier and the unsettling bills they have received.Carrie Johnson took possession of her house in the subdivision May 30, 2013. She said the first notice she received from Bobcat Meadows Metropolitan District, the water supplier for the 175-unit subdivision, was a disconnect notice Nov. 6 claiming she owed $191.13.Johnson said they had never received a water bill prior to the disconnect notice. After they received the disconnect notice, they received the first water bill from Bobcat Meadows. ìI paid the outstanding balance plus the current fee plus the late fee,î Johnson said. But three days after paying her bill, she received another disconnect notice on her door, she said.ìInstead of each family having an account number, each house has one,î she said. ìThe people who were there before us set it all up with the email address and password, and I canít access the online stuff because I donít know the information they used.îTo complicate matters, Johnson said she has repeatedly tried to contact Bobcat Meadows, which is managed by H2O Consultants, owned by Dave and Debbie Stanford. Johnson said her attempts to contact the Stanfords to remedy the situation have been unsuccessful.Don Josleyn and his wife have lived in the subdivision for about two-and-one-half years and have many of the same complaints.ìI have kept complete records of my water usage and payment history,î Josleyn said. ìIn April 2013, I got a bill for $898.83 for water for one month. Needless to say, I didnít pay it. Then in May, I got a bill for the $898.83 plus a water bill for $261.73 for usage for that monthís water.îJosleyn said he wrote Bobcat Meadows a letter stating that he was not going to pay those amounts. He also told them in the letter that his average water bill over the previous year had been about $40 per month. ìI sent them a check for $40 and asked them to correct it,î he said. ìThey threatened to shut my water off.îTo account for the 22,000 gallons of water Bobcat Meadows charged him in April, Josleyn hired a plumber to check for leaks in his water lines. The plumber found nothing, Josleyn said.By June, Josleyn said the company had credited him almost $1,200 in incorrect water usage fees; however, in August, he received another bill for $302.99, stating he had used 23,400 gallons of water.ìThatís what Iím still fighting about with them (Bobcat Meadows),î Josleyn said. ìI have called and written, asking for an explanation. Iíve gotten no return calls, no return emails, until now. And now theyíre threatening to turn my water off again for the $302 balance.îIn an email to Josleyn dated Jan. 17, 2014, Debbie Stanford wrote the following: ìThe explanation of the charges is the water went through your meter. We do not control the usage Ö the rates for usage are set by BobCat [sic] Meadows Ö rates follow along with the City of Colorado Springs rates and there was an increase last year. Additionally, the base rate used to include 1000 gallons of water. There is no longer any water included in the base rate. So any usage at all is charged for.îìI talked to plumbers in the area; and, if I had used 23,400 gallons of water, my house would be floating down the road,î Josleyn said. ìItís just my wife and me.ìThey donít deny that theyíve screwed me over, but theyíre not going to correct it this time. My concern is that they billed me $302, and theyíre going to continue to send me extortion bills.îBoth Josleyn and Johnson said they have attempted to get information about becoming members of the Bobcat Meadows volunteer water board of directors but neither has heard back about how to proceed. The water board currently seats two members: David Griser and Gerald Nelson.Bobcat Meadows has managed the water system for the subdivision since it was built in 1998; but, according to the Better Business Bureau, the company has been in existence since Jan. 21, 2013, and has an ìFî rating. The BBB reports that Bobcat Meadows Metro District has had five complaints posted against them in 2013, four which pertained to billing/collection issues. Three of the four complaints received no response from Bobcat Meadows or the resolutions were not up to BBB standards.Stanford responded via email to The New Falcon Herald. ìOur company, H2O Consultants, working with the Board of BobCat [sic] Meadows, have acknowledged several issues and corrective action has been put into place. Admittedly some have been relatively costly and the final solution will not be complete until mid-2014. Iím sure whatever you have been made aware of falls under our acknowledgement of issues and corrective actions already in place. Other than this, no other comment will be made.îJosleyn said he wants to know what those ìissuesî were and what ìcorrective actionsî are being taken to fix them.The NFH called Sanford again to ask for clarification of those issues; she did not return the call.

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