Extra water charges put strain on young family’s budget

11/30/2011 5:00 AM

11/30/2011 1:30 PM

Share the Season is an annual campaign that offers one-time aid to people affected by unforeseen hardships. The people are not identified to protect their privacy.

The young family was surviving — until that phone call came last summer.

It was the city of Wichita’s water department, telling the family it had used more than 144,000 gallons of water and was responsible for a water bill totaling more than $1,000.

“We are renting and I told the landlord and, at first, he never did anything about it,” the 27-year-old mother of two said. “The city came out and shut our water off because the meter was just going crazy.”

She went to City Hall and explained the situation — and was able to get the water bill reduced to $250. But it is still a burden.

She’s unemployed. Her husband works as a tire technician. They have two children ages 6 and 4.

“The city put us on a payment plan but it is not like gas or electric bills in that it is spread out over a year,” the mother said. “We have only three months to pay the bill and that’s putting us in a big bind.”

Their regular water bill is typically around $50 and on top of that there is the payment plan of $65.30 a month.

“That kind of puts us in a hard spot with all of our bills,” the mother wrote on her application to Share the Season. “Having the help would make a huge difference.”

Share the Season has raised $56,300 so far. Among recent donors: Jerry and Anita Allard, in memory of Ercell Swain; Ted and Marcia Ayres, in honor of Marni Stevens; Carolyn Bennett, Billy Bolin; Bruce and Meribeth Buhr; Betty Kathleen Carlisle, in memory of L. Wayne Carlisle; Norma Clem; Patricia Colby; Robyn Davis; Darrel and Eunice Doerksen; David Dolinar; Brad Elliott; Anna Flynn; Beverly Fowler, in memory of Brian Kirby; Mark Gay; Bruce and Brenda Gilkey; C. Gordon Harrod;

Lance and Pat Hayes; Sally Herrington; James and Marilyn John; J.E. and A. LaVonne Jordan; Lea Jordan; Henry Landwehr; Eric and Debra Larson; Rob and Karla Luallen; Debra Luft, in memory of Francis Luft; Michael and Katharine O’Bryhim; Sarah Ottaway; Kathryn Owens; Linda Pechanec; Donald and Karen Prockish; Peter and Rebecca Reynolds; Juanita Secrest; Douglas and Pauline Sharp; Christopher and Mary Shearn; Ronald Strunk; Beverly Taylor; Carmen and Don Townsend; Frank and Dorsie Vasquez, in memory of Jerry Vasquez; Cynthia Vieyra; William and Judith Ann Wynne; Dwain and Peggy Yearout; anonymous in honor of Pam Ammar, Jill Docking and Pam Winter; and 22 other anonymous donors.

Send contributions to Share the Season at the Wichita Community Foundation, 301 N. Main, Suite 100, Wichita, KS 67202.

To donate online, go to www.sharetheseason.org. Donors will be listed in The Eagle; please note if you prefer to remain anonymous.

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