Over the last three weeks, multiple residents of a mobile home park on Jacksonville’s Westside have told News4JAX they have received outrageously high water bills, some as high as $1,700 for one month.
They said it has been happening for years at the Three Seasons Mobile Home Village, and a former property manager there told the I-TEAM the park would fabricate amounts due for residents’ water bills and go years without reading the water meters, so when a meter was read, it could result in an accumulated balance as high as $2,000.
On Monday, plumbers hired by management at the park showed up to see if there were any leaks at the home of a resident who said her bills had gone up like crazy, but those plumbers weren’t the only ones checking it out.
JEA workers and Jacksonville city inspectors were also at Three Seasons Mobile Home Village on Monday morning, and it seems management was, too.
Kelly ONeil said she’s been living at the park for 13 years and her water bill has always been $30 a month.
That is until July when her water bill rose more than 2,000% ($679.25). Then it got worse and jumped to more than $1,700 a month in both August and September.
“I paid the last one. I can’t afford to pay another one,” ONeil said.
She said she hired plumbers from two companies to check for leaks but they didn’t find anything that would have resulted in such high water bills.
Then on Monday, those she called her knights in shining armor arrived: a City of Jacksonville consumer affairs investigator, a city code compliance administrator, and two people from JEA.
The city came to investigate and see if there were any ordinance violations.
Also in tow, were two people from a plumbing company that were hired by the park to check out what might be going on.
“Right now, I don’t see any leaks at all. I checked the meter and the meter seems like it’s working fine,” said Henry Harris, a plumber with Creative MultiCare.
On Friday, former Three Seasons property manager TeriAnne Werner told the I-TEAM the company that owns the park, Moore Enterprises out of Irving, Texas, would either pocket payment they received from high water bills or the tenant could be forced out of their home.
“Most of these people, they own their home. So they technically only pay for lot rent and the water bill. So some people that couldn’t afford to go to court or fight them on the water bills ended up losing a home that they had purchased,” Werner said. “These people need to be held accountable for what they’re doing.”
Werner said she also thinks it should be against the law to bill people based on false meter readings.
For anyone in Jacksonville who lives at a park owned by Moore Enterprises and received a water bill that is not right, there is a number the city has set up for tenants to call and lodge a complaint: 904-255-7198.
This goes for tenants at Three Seasons, Orange Park North and Americana Mobile Home Parks. All three are owned by Moore Enterprises.