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Church hopes for answers after city charges them $18,000 for water use

RICHMOND, Va. -- Staff from a local church that has a daycare and head start program said they have been hit with unbelievably high water bills for months.

At one time the Woodville Day Nursery owed the City of Richmond $18,000, and said that for months, they haven't been able to get answers about the “astronomical bills.”

Woodville Day Nursery and Head Start Director Shawn Wilkins said they care for about 40 children each day.

“The bills are coming in $2,000 and $3,000 a month, so an average of $2500 a month,” he said.

The water bills were for thousands of dollars.

The water bills were for thousands of dollars.

Wilkins said that they aren’t using that much water, even with kids washing hands, and with some cooking, they definitely are not using that much water and sewage.

Charles Tillman, Sr., Pastor Woodville Church Of The Nazarene, said they spent money on changing toilets, sinks and other fixtures and had a plumber check their building.

“We've done everything to make sure there's no lead in the building,” Tillman said. “I walk through every day checking, I want to make sure."

Meanwhile, they've struggled to pay the water bill.

The church didn't feel like daycare services were responsible for racking up the bills.

The church didn't feel like daycare services were responsible for racking up the bills.

Last summer we were so far behind we had about $18,000 in bills, we sold one of our church vans, took special offerings -- did everything we could to possible to raise funds.

Then they called the CBS 6 Problem Solvers, who contacted the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities.

A technician checked their building, even looking for underground leaks.

“If a problem was found on the city side, they would make adjustments,” said Wilkins, “if not, they'd work with the center on a plan to handle the bill.”

Church leaders said they were told the leak was found at the meter on the city's side.

Now they hope relief, and a refund, may be in sight.