Orange Grove Man Wants Water Meter

Leon Tyner is an unhappy water customer in Gulfport's Orange Grove community.

He pays a flat rate monthly water bill, which recently increased by more than twenty percent. Installing a water meter should lower his bill considerably, but Tyner says after numerous phone calls to the city, he's been getting the run around.

He called WLOX News for help.

"Oh, we've had all kinds of problems here. And I have fought them from the beginning," said Leon Tyner, as he filled his sink with water.

His latest problem is water, or rather his monthly bill for city water service. His flat rate bill just got bigger.

"They're charging me sixty five dollars and twenty eight cents a month for the same service the people over in Bel Aire, in particular this one, is getting for twenty three dollars and fifty three cents. Well, it's very frustrating when you have to pay five times as much for the same service that the man down the street is getting. That does frustrating," he said.

He's referring to an itemized break down of the bill which shows Tyner paying five times more for debt service than someone with a water meter.

The central box for his water line is located in the neighbor's backyard.. and services four nearby houses. And that's part of the problem.

"Looks like maybe this resident has a garage or some sort of building in the alley. That makes it much more difficult to get access to the water line," said public works director, Kris Rieman.

Rieman says gaining the necessary easements to install the meter would definitely prolong the process.

"Anytime you get attorneys involved and surveyors and appraisers it definitely makes the process longer," he explained.

Leon Tyner is willing to do whatever it takes. The higher priced water bill is his incentive for action.

Public works director, Kris Rieman, says he's more than willing to meet with Leon Tyner to discuss what options are available for installing a water meter.

By the way, there were more than five thousand Orange Grove water customers when the City of Gulfport annexed the area. The city has installed water meters in all but three hundred seventy of those residences.