San Benito Veteran Fights Excessive Water Bill

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SAN BENITO – A high water bill has a Rio Grande Valley veteran fighting mad. He says the bill is way too much and he wants it fixed.

Korean War veteran Abel Garcia knows a thing or two about being in a fight.

"They're shooting at you, bombs, bullets and everything else, so you expect not to come back. And you always have the most closed loved ones with you," Garcia says, describing his war experience.

Garcia says he never thought at his age he'd be back on the battlefield. This time the fight is his unexpectedly high water bill.

He says he received the bill for $565.74 last month.

Garcia tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS it’s much higher than what he usually pays a month. He added there is no way he used that much water during the billing period from Dec. 24 through Jan. 24.

"I take a shower in my house, but I don't pour that much water like they say I do. Sometimes I clean this," he says pointing at his yard.

The veteran says having to pay a $565 water bill will keep him from having some extra funds.

"I just won't go out as much as I should. I'll eat here at home instead of going out," adds Garcia.

He says when he's complained to San Benito City Hall in the past, he did not receive the answer he wanted.

CHANNEL FIVE NEWS reached out to the city of San Benito to see if we can have Garcia's bill lowered. A spokesperson for the city, Martha McClain, spoke with us off camera.

She agreed the water bill seemed excessive. McClain says a meter reader will check the volume of water used. 

She says if the city is in error, Garcia will be notified and a new bill will be sent.

Garcia says a meter reader arrived at his home Tuesday afternoon and took a reading. He says the city of San Benito's utilities department set up a meeting with him Wednesday to discuss his bill.

McClain says Garcia is not in jeopardy of having his water turned off in this case and will be given until March 5 to pay the bill, even if the amount is changed.


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