File photo.

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Lander City Council on Tuesday the case of the Maverick Motel, Restaurant and Lounge whose water bill jumped from a little more than 100,000 gallons a month to more than 500,000 gallons.

Lucille Kara recounted her investigation into the cause of what became a nearly $2,000 utility bill. She told about how she had a certified plumber investigate all her systems; and the city maintained that its meter was not faulty. She said she checked all the toilets, some times twice a day to look for a leak, and monitored her meter.

The extra running water stopped as mysteriously as it came, noting that her usage since late January has returned to normal.

Kara did not ask to be reimbursed, and she did not contest the fact that somehow the water came through the system. She did, however, ask if there was some way the city could let its customers know about potential leaks.

Treasurer Charri Lara said that one member of city staff generally eyeballs the bills to look for above normal usage. Staff noted that the city’s system at other times in the past had noticed potential leaks, but Kara said she was never notified.

Councilor Cade Maestas, noting that the city’s system does internally flag possible leaks on accounts, suggested working with the city’s software provider to find a way to get that information put on customers’ bills. That way customers can look for leaks sooner rather than later. The rest of the council did not disagree with Maestas’s suggestion. Water passing through a customer’s system, leak or no, is still the customer’s responsibility. Based on an existing ordinance, the city gave Kara a one-time $100 credit for the leak charges.

“It’s nice to know one voice can be heard,” Kara said, thanking the council for its action.