An Action News Jax investigation reveals water utility bills doubled or even tripled in St. Augustine after Hurricane Matthew.
Action News Jax is getting answers about why the bills in St. Augustine aren’t adding up.
"For the period that includes the hurricane, where the water was turned off, it went up from $72 to $114.85," Davis Shores resident George Wages said.
Wages said he returned to his home weeks after Hurricane Matthew and found his utility bill nearly doubled.
"I wasn't angry, just irritated," Wages said.
The city manager for St. Augustine said debris pilling on the roads was covering water meters and they couldn’t be immediately accessed after the storm.
"The trucks are out here, construction workers are out here, so I don't know why they couldn't come out," Davis Shores resident Kira Anderson said.
The city manager said people who are on the city’s utilities are now being billed based on their year’s average.
"They estimated high to cover themselves," Wages said.
Anderson showed Action News Jax the notice that came with her bill this month.
It said their bill was estimated because of the disruption of utility services caused by Hurricane Matthew.
“We haven't used it, and $96 is a lot to pay when you haven't used any water," Anderson said.
Another neighbor sent Action News Jax pictures of his $144.34 utility bill. He said his bill is usually around $60.
The city’s finance director said people will be charged an estimated amount for one billing cycle.
"You better watch your bills, that’s all I can say," Wages said.
The city is encouraging everyone who was impacted by Hurricane Matthew to call customer service. They said they will work with customers on a case-by-case basis.
The number for customer service is 904-825-1037.
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