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Pastor fired up when city refund for water use comes back short $8,000

RICHMOND, Va. -- Pastor Charles Tillman is fired up about a mistake he said has cost his church in a big way. He reached out to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers to explain what he wants Richmond city officials to do.

“I don’t care if it goes all the way to the Mayor's office. Somebody needs to look at that and say this is wrong,” Pastor Tillman explained.

In January, CBS 6 Problem solvers profiled the situation when Pastor Tillman’s church- Woodville Church of the Nazarene fell into dire straits because of astronomical city water bills.

Tens of thousands of dollars, he said, were overpaid to the city for years. It forced the church leaders to make drastic financial decisions.

“We had a loan that we took out to pay the bills. We needed to sell our church van. We had to move money from other ministries to pay for utilities because the bill was so outrageous,” Pastor Tillman added.

When Problem Solvers got involved eight months ago, Pastor Tillman said the city investigated, and found a leak on both sides of the meter. The city agreed to adjust the bill for the church daycare.

That amounted to a refund of more than $43,000. When the check came in, Pastor Tillman said they were all stunned that it was more than $8,000 short.

The check was written for a little more than $35,000.

The answer Pastor Tillman said he got from the city still doesn’t add up and he shared a letter from a city supervisor to the church. The letter explained that the city kept part of their refund because of an outstanding church bill.

“I said how can we have an outstanding bill with all the thousands of dollars we've sent in over the years? You’ve already determined our normal bill would be $200,” Tillman said. “Now, you say we have an outstanding bill over $8,000 dollars?”

Now he just wants the city to examine this issue again, and give the church the money he believes is due.

Problem Solvers reached out to the city’s Department of Public Utilities on Friday. Spokesperson Angela Fountain said the person most familiar with the church’s case was out of the office. She said they would investigate and provide further details on Monday. CBS 6 News will update the story at that time.

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