Water bill issue has Daytona Beach Shores clashing with Port Orange

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PORT ORANGE, Fla. —

Taxpayers from Daytona Beach Shores are refusing to pay an overdue bill to Port Orange for nearly $1 million.

Channel 9's Blaine Tolison has covered the billing problems with Port Orange Water for two months, and the mayors for both cities are squared off for a fight over the issue as both cities have had a long standing agreement over sewer water.

But mistakes in Port Orange's billing has the Shores city manager refusing to pay for it, and he's even threatening legal action.

Jerry Harris, of Daytona Beach, is familiar with the controversy, the audits and decisions coming from nearby Port Orange. Harris is a wholesale sewer and water customer of Port Orange who was under-billed for 43 months.

"I don't want to see it on my water bill. That's the final line as far as I'm concerned," he said.

Last month, an audit attributed the overbill to lack of internal controls in the Port Orange billing process.

  Harris' stance is the same as the city manager of Daytona Beach Shores, who sent a three-page letter to Port Orange stating the city shouldn't look to others to absorb the $900,000 mistake.

But some residents like Harris who were under-billed don't necessarily want to stick residents there with the bill. They're hoping there can be some kind of mutual agreement.

"I guess I'm in the middle," Harris said. "It's kind of a catch 22 and (I) still think they ought to be able to work out some kind of equitable solution."

Leaders in Port Orange told WFTV the decision by the Shores manager would have to be discussed in a council meeting. If they decide to fight back, it could result in a legal battle between two cities.

City leaders in Port Orange haven't said when they will take the issue up for discussion, but the next council meeting is not until 2013.