Tim Logan has lived in Harlem for almost three years. His house is outside of the city limits, but it is tapped into the city's water system. It's a move that he says has cost him thousands of dollars over the last three years.
Logan and his family have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why their water bills are so high.
"The highest has been $400 or $500. And the average is $250," Logan says.
After making some phone calls and doing some calculations, the Logans have discovered they are being charged a higher rate for their water than people who live a few blocks away. Even though they don't live within the city limits of Harlem, they are using the city's water. And according to the city's rate structure, people who live outside the city have to pay more. Because of the cost, the Logans are cutting back on water.
"I haven't watered the grass because of the rain, but I've invested so much money into the yard so I don't want to watch it die, you know? But like I said, we haven't watered in 30 days. And the kids. We just try to get them in and get them out. Not let them fill up the bath tub too much. Try to wash clothes with big loads instead of small loads," Logan says.
In Columbia County, water costs $2.12 for every thousand gallons. Within the city of Harlem, the water costs $3.50... But outside of the city of Harlem, the water rate is more than double, at $7.36. We went to the Harlem City Manager to get answers about the higher prices.
"In areas outside the city, there is a less dense pattern of development, so it takes more, in terms of the cost, to get water to those people. You have to run more infrastructure to serve the same amount of people and so the rate structure is set up to account for that," Harlem City Manager Jason Rizner.
Meanwhile, Logan says if he had known that the water was going to cost so much, he wouldn't have paid thousands of dollars to tap into the city's system.
"I'm paying somebody's payroll. It's too much," Logan says.
Engineers are currently conducting a study on Harlem's water system. City officials say the study could suggest that some changes need to be made to the rates.
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