Mission Woman Receives Hefty Irrigation Bill
MISSION – A Mission woman has no choice but to pay a bill from 18 years ago. The interest on it outweighs the original fees. She said the bill is news to her.
Hidalgo County Irrigation District 6 billed Eliza Medina for a little under $2,000. Over half of that mounted from interest. She said she never used the services, let alone knew she had access to them.
Medina and her family moved into the home when her daughter was 6 months old. “About 17 years ago,” she said.
As a young couple, she and her husband were ecstatic to call a place home.
“You’re young again, inexperienced, not knowing, you’re just happy you’re getting a property. Of course, you know that with property, there comes property taxes, but we don’t know the other things that come along with it,” she said.
It wasn’t until this past November the Medina’s received a hefty bill from Hidalgo County Irrigation District 6.
“One column tells me the amount, then the other column tells me the penalties, and I was really surprised. I just couldn’t understand how the penalties are more than the actual amount of taxes owed,” she said.
The bill dates back to 1999, 18 years ago. That’s the year Medina purchased the home. She said this is the first time she’s heard from the irrigation district.
“The funny thing is that after 17 years, now here I’m getting a statement, and my question was how come barely now I’m getting it. What happened to all the other years,” she said.
It turned out this year the irrigation district received a returned piece of mail for the 2017 bill on Medina’s property. It led them to a property owner’s search. They found the correct address this year.
Irrigation District 6 refused to talk about Medina’s situation. So CHANNEL 5 NEWS went to Estella Mata with Hidalgo County Irrigation District 1. She said even though the irrigation district used the wrong address, Medina is still responsible for paying it.
“The law is that if you don’t receive your statements or anything, the fees continue and they’re not waived,” Mata said.
Mata said the taxes follow the land, not the owner. Medina said she understands this; the problem lies in the additional fees.
“My question is why wait 17 years to send the bill to the correct address,” she said.
Medina wishes she knew about the irrigation fees from the beginning. She said she pays all of her bills on time. She’d treat this one the same.
We learned if someone owns more than one acre of land, they’re more than likely responsible for paying irrigation fees.
There are ways to avoid surprise fees. If someone purchases a property, get a title company to look at the report so they know what they are responsible for paying.
And people should make sure if they sell, they tell the buyer what they are responsible for paying and switch out the name and address on the account.