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Water district refunds Bell County cities $850,000 for 17-year billing mistake

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-26 19:39:13-05

BELL COUNTY, Texas — We've all made mistakes, but probably not quite like this.

Bell County WCID, the local water district, found a billing error, nearly two decades long, that is costing them more than $850,000.

It was first discovered when one of the board members notices that their invoices to the area cities were higher than the once WCID received from the Brazos River Authority.

Something they say should not be happening because those numbers should be the same.

Their customers, cities like Killeen and Harker Heights, were accidentally overcharged for water for 17 years.

To put that in perspective, the average cost to repair a pothole is between $100-$400.

If you go with the high end, that is still 2,125 potholes the cities could have filled with the extra money they were spending on water.

”Yeah, it was a hard surprise when we started looking into it,” said Ricky Garrett, General Manager of Bell County WCID.

They realized that nobody had adjusted their billing practice when Brazos River Authority changed the way they were billing WCID.

Anyone who could answer why, is long gone — it was only caught because a board member had a question.

”I’m really thankful for the board member who questioned it, or we might have continued on this path for a while, but going forward, we’re on the right path with that,” Garrett said.

Once WCID realized the mistake was happening, they immediately contacted the City Managers in the area.

According to Garrett, they were just as surprised but grateful.

Garrett says WCID is taking immediate action to correct the error.

Everyone gets their money back and it will be paid through WCID’s reserve funds.

It's important to remember that $850,000 plus accumulated over 17 years and all cities involved will be credited that money back on their next bill.