GARDNER, Kan. — A monthly water bill at a home in a Gardner, Kansas, subdivision is raising eyebrows. The total bill is more than $2,800 including electricity. But no one even lives there.
FOX4 reached out to the City of Gardner, and leaders said the $2,774.50 charge for water is no mistake. The city’s utilities director said it’s a case of a home with a fresh green lawn — on a small to average size 8,252 square foot lot.
New homes are mostly finished on W. 161st Terrace in Gardner’s Copper Springs Meadows subdivision, and a few just have to lay the sod.
But if the meter reading is indeed 100.01% accurate, as a memo from the city to the property owner states, new owners may want to think carefully about how much they water it.
“$2,800 that’s unbelievable, that’s unreal. That’s a lot!” neighbor Seth Bell reacted.
“That is insane! I’ve never even had a water bill even a fraction of that price. That’s crazy,” Makaylah Sposato said.
The developer thought so too and contacted the city. He showed us bills for other homes in the subdivision with fresh sod, most around $200 to $400.
By comparison, watering more than an acre of grass around the community pool and filling the 43,000-gallon pool the same month only cost $1,700.
But according to the meter reading, 319,000 gallons were used at the single home in a month. That’s enough to fill 15-20 average backyard pools.
“I would absolutely be asking questions. That’s outrageous,” Sposato said.
We spoke to neighbors who say they water 20 minutes a day every day in seven zones and have never received a bill over $150. So the developer agreed to pay the city just over $50 to have the meter tested. The three different tests came back with the meter reading 99.98%, 99.95% and 100.01% accuracy.
The city said there’s no debating the appearance of green freshly laid sod in the heat of summer. This month’s bill, however, went down to $161 and just 19,000 gallons used.
According to the city of Gardner, that property owner, or anyone with higher than expected bills, can contact the city to work out a payment plan.
A sign outside the home said it’s been sold. Online records show a sale on August 25 listed as pending.