Oshkosh residents question water billing during special meeting

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News recently told you about an Oshkosh man who received an $800 water bill that he says came as a big shock.

Other community members are also asking questions, saying their bills have gone up.

That led to an informational meeting on Monday where the city attempted to explain why and address recent changes to the billing process.

"I think there's some confusion with us moving over to monthly billing that somehow that relates to our meter reading system. Our meter reading system is completely independent, and that's the same meter reading system we've been using for several years now," said Oshkosh City Manager Mark Rohloff.

The city stresses its billing system is accurate.

During Monday's meeting the audience was told it is estimated nationally that 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 or more gallons per day, whether it's a toilet or even a hose left running.

However, some in the audience couldn't be convinced.

One man said, "I can't believe that every one of us has a toilet leak, a hose that's been left on, or something like that."

Others told Action 2 News the frustration comes from just the process of challenging a bill when they believe there's a mistake.

"Whether I call the city when I have a problem with an individual billing or I come here, it's always this antagonistic, 'It's your problem, there's a leaky toilet,' without even listening to us," said Nella Warfield of Oshkosh.

Don Lofgren of Oshkosh added, "I thought of it as typically, here we are, it's them, with all of their experience and all of their meetings that they've gone to, and they're talking to little kids, but we're not little kids."

Right now the city is looking to acquire a system which would allow customers to track their water usage in real-time.

Approval for that could go before the city council in the next 2 or 3 months.

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