One of the plaintiffs who filed recall petitions against the City of Walthourville Mayor and a Councilwoman, back in July of this year, is claiming that she is being retaliated against and that the city has wrongfully shut off her water.
Anita Scurry and co-plaintiff Paulette Jamison filed the petitions to recall Mayor Daisy Pray and Councilwoman Patricia Green, alleging unethical conduct, misconduct in office and misappropriated public property and funds.
While the efforts to recall the two elected officials appears to have failed based on court reports in August, Scurry said the city continues to retaliate against her.
She said she received an unusually high water bill in August, which reflected her water usage for the month of July. According to the bill, Scurry had used 51,560 gallons of water between July 5 and Aug.5, totaling $347.56.
The bill also indicated a past due amount of $80.99 for a total due amount of $428.55 by Aug. 20.
Scurry said she lives in a single-wide mobile home. She said there is no way she used up 51,560 gallons of water in one month. She went to the city to question the bill and ask for an extension on the payment until the investigation was completed.
Scurry said the city told her to hire a plumber and check for leaks.
Scurry provided documents to the Courier showing that she did call her property manager who sent someone to her home on Aug. 24. No leaks were detected.
“And my bill for August water usage was only $68.27,” Scurry said. “My usage was only 1,980 gallons. If I had a leak, the bill and the water consumption would still be going up – not down.”
Scurry hired an attorney who submitted a letter to the city, Sept. 7, asking that they check the meters. The letter stated that other neighbors in the mobile home park had a similar issue with billings for July usage. It also mentioned that lightning had struck the area which could have affected the meters.
The city responded with a letter dated Sept. 17, stating city workers had inspected her residence multiple times and concluded that there was a leak, “somewhere on the premises.” It was the homeowner’s responsibility to make the necessary repairs.
Scurry said that on Sept. 11, the city shut off her water and 10 days later removed her trash receptacles from her yard.
“I’ve been the quiet one in this whole recall petition,” Scurry said. “But they are clearly retaliating against me for filing the petitions. They say they checked the meters but when I looked at the meter, it had cobwebs all around it. If they opened the meter and checked it properly, it wouldn’t have cobwebs.”
“We have a daily data-log from Ms. Scurry’s water meter and it indicates that she had a water leak within her residence during the period in question,” Assistant City Attorney Andrew Johnson said. “We have investigated the matter and determined that our water meter was working correctly during this time.”
“They say I used 51,560 gallons in July and that is incorrect,” Scurry said. “In fact there were a few days of no consumption because I was out of town. If I had a leak that bad my home would be floating.”
“The City of Walthourville denies all the allegations made by Ms. Scurry, specifically to include her claims of retaliation,” Johnson said. “The decision to terminate her water services for non-payment was an administrative decision in accordance with the procedures applicable to all of our customers. The City of Walthourville would never discriminate against someone based on her exercise of a legal right, regardless of what we think of the merits of the case.”
Scurry said she is still without water and will continue to pursue her legal options on the matter.