Shreveport water bill

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The city of Shreveport must pay millions of dollars back to commercial water customers.

That decision came after a judge on Monday ruled in favor of a class action lawsuit.

Jerry Harper, the lawyer who filed the class action suit, says the city owes commercial users about $2.5 million. This affects approximately 6,000 customers.

Harper filed the suit against the city in May 2018 after realizing the city has been overcharging customers since 2015.

So he wrote a letter to former Mayor Ollie Tyler and the city attorney. Harper explained the overcharges, told them to stop, inform customers and pay them back.

Harper said he also offered the city help. City officials declined. So in August 2018, Harper filed the lawsuit.

KTBS asked Harper on Tuesday him if he believes the judge’s ruling will make a difference.

"I see no sign of the city doing anything other than deny liability, delay, and try to inhibit tax payers from getting their money back that they've been overcharged for," said Harper.

KTBS also reached out to city leaders for comment. Spokesman Ben Riggs said they do not comment on ongoing litigation.

There are at least two other class action lawsuits – also filed by Harper -- against the city for overcharging water customers.

The second one affects 60,000 residential customers. It's estimated the city overcharged them about $25 million, Harper said.

"The overcharges which occurred throughout the administration of Ollie Tyler have begun to be charged now by the new mayor, Mayor Perkins has decided to continue these overcharges. There's now a third class action suit against the city for yet additional and other overcharges," said Harper.

The lawsuit dealing with residential customers will be heard next month by the same judge.

Harper encourages customers to reach out to their council members. They should ask why the city is overcharging customers and why they aren't being paid back.

"Since the higher rates have been imposed by the city of Shreveport that fund has ballooned to almost $45 million according to the city's own money. Now part of that $45 million is money that is overcharged by the city of Shreveport to its own citizens. That's not the city's money,” Harper said.

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