EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – A community of residents don’t understand why their bills have been consistently high for years so they have joined together to call for change.
A group of about 50 residents gathered in front of Eagle Mountain City Hall on Sunday to voice their concerns.
Sam Allen, an Eagle Mountain resident, was so upset over his high monthly utility bills that he began researching the city’s finances. He came up with a report called the Eagle Mountain City Utility Scandal
“The problem is Eagle Mountain is notorious for having problems with their utility billing,” Allen said.
The report details various places where city funds are appropriated. Residents claim the money is being misused or pocketed by officials.
“My utility bill this month is $373, but there are people here that have bills as high as $800,” he said.
Beth Coulter showed ABC 4 News Reporter Cristina Rendon her monthly statements. She had several bills ranging from about $300 to $700.
Other residents have similar stories.
Tracey Wilkinson and her husband sold their Eagle Mountain home in December 2012. Wilkinson said the house sat vacant for two months with the temperature set at 55 degrees.
“For December the bill was $207 and for January it was $235,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said that is the same amount she would normally pay when her family did use water, gas and electricity. Her family has since moved to an older home and does not pay nearly the same amount for utilities.
“Someone needs to be held accountable for what is going on in Eagle Mountain,” she said.
Eagle Mountain’s City Administrator Ifo Pili addressed the residents Sunday.
“I totally have empathy for all those who are frustrated with it,” he said.
Pili said the cold weather is playing a part in the bill spike.
Eagle Mountain supplies their own water, gas, electricity and sewage services as opposed to larger cities which use state regulated private utilities like Questar Gas or Rocky Mountain Power.
The city-supplied services account for about a 10% to 15% increase in resident’s utility bills.
Pili said residents voted for a $20 million bond in 2000 to develop the infrastructure to accommodate the services. The city is still paying off that bond and uses utility revenue to do so.
“The city never wanted to be in the utility business,” Pili said. “I think the private sector does a better job, however, they don’t want to be out here.”The city said in July 2013 resident’s utility bills should go down thanks to a new contract for fire services with Unified Fire Authority.
Until then, Pili said the city’s doors are open to anyone who wants to discuss their bills. They can call Eagle Mountain’s Utility Department at 801-789-6627 or email them at email@example.com