Raymore residents frustrated about spiking water bills as city changes old meters

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RAYMORE, Mo. — The city of Raymore is about to complete an ambitious project to replace all home and business water meters citywide.

But as the new meters have gone in, many residents say their bills are skyrocketing.

Amy Sellmeyer is baffled by her latest water bill from the city of Raymore.

“It shows we even used more than last year in July,” Sellmeyer said.

For years, her family of five has always had bills around $80 a month. But this month’s bill, shows they used 11,100 gallons of water, which is more than double the previous months.

“It definitely didn’t make sense to me,” Sellmeyer said.

Other Raymore residents complain of similar spikes, dozens of them writing in with their concerns to FOX4 Problem Solvers. One woman said her bill shot up 200% and shows more water use than April, when the family filled a 10,000 gallon swimming pool.

In the middle of all those high bills, there have been citywide changes.

“Essentially what this program is doing is replacing every water meter connected to a home throughout the city,” said Mike Ekey, Raymore assistant city manager.

Meters were more than 20 years old, and many of them had never been serviced or replaced. The new ones don’t require someone to physically go into neighborhoods. They can be read digitally from City Hall.

“As a meter gets older, it doesn’t start over counting. It actually under counts the amount of water that’s flowing to a home,” Ekey said.

Couple that with change in trash service and recent sewer rate spike, a lot of customers can expect to see utility bill jumps. Bigger bills can also result depending on when your meter was replaced within the billing cycle.

“It would’ve appeared as if their usage has increased when in reality they were just getting a larger billing cycle,” Ekey said.

It turns out that’s exactly what happened to Sellmeyer. Her meter was replaced Aug. 6. According to the city, their October bill included that date through Sept. 25, just shy of two full months of water use.

“They didn’t communicate that to the consumers of Raymore,” Sellmeyer said.

The city said it put information about the changes on its website and inserts with water bills, and it encourages anyone with concerns to call the utilities department at 816-331-5182.

The city said, of the nearly 8,000 new meters installed, it’s only found functional issues with about 1% of them, and issues are fixed as they learn about them.

But a handful of residents are so frustrated, they’re considering legal action or petitioning for a state audit.

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