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Oshkosh city leaders and residents have a heated meeting over water bills

Posted: 9:55 PM, Sep 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-10 00:08:04-04

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Oshkosh city leaders held a meeting Monday afternoon with residents concerned about their high water bills.

Tensions were high as community members explained their frustration and confusion over spiked water bills.

Lu Scheer was one of the dozens of residents at the meeting.

She said she's a landlord and owns rentals in the city, and her July water bill was alarming.

"I received a bill three weeks ago for $1,213," said Scheer.

She added that using that many gallons of water seems outrageous.

Others at the meeting said they saw hundreds of dollars in increases.

City leaders explained that they recently switched their billing system from quarterly to monthly, but Mark Rohloff, the city manager, said he doesn't believe that's the issue.

"I think people are taking better notice of parts of their utility bills, and people who may have experienced some spikes in their bills over a three month period are now seeing it on a one month period, and they're raising questions," added Rohloff.

However, some residents don't believe they used the amount of water they're being charged for and couldn't find any leaks either.

Rohloff said this isn't the first time people have been concerned about a raise in their bills.

"We get people calling all the time about, but it was with their quarterly bill so they would say, 'My quarterly bill is much higher than my previous quarterly bill,'" added Rohloff.

Residents expressed they just want their issues to be heard, while the city said the spikes are because of actual usage, but it is willing to keep an open mind for anything else that may be a problem.

Rohloff said the city has tested the utility meter reading software, and that it's confident the meters are being read correctly, so it's an issue of what is causing individual bills to go up.