PHILADELPHIA (FOX 29) - It's a battle over a water bill, which has been going on for more than a decade for one local great-grandmother.
75-year-old Bennie Outterbridge presides over her Kingsessing neighborhood. It's a home that’s been in her family for the better part of half a century. However, during the last 13 years, Bennie says she’s been drowning in water department bureaucracy— hassled over a bill for $429 she says was paid.
“Paid in full to my water account," she told FOX 29.
The money is for a water department homeowner’s emergency loan Bennie’s mother used to make repairs in 1995.
She died four years later still making payments on that loan and Bennie hired a title clearing company to pay out any liens so she could take over the deed, which a payment ledger indicates it did.
“When I took over the house and the bill was in Bennie Outterbridge not Ollie Murray and I had a zero balance," she explained.
Ollie Murray—her mom—long dead with a city-issued death certificate when in 2006 Bennie says she started getting overdue bills addressed to the deceased.
“She’s been gone that long now you have her name on a bill from 2010 that you’re trying to make me pay that was satisfied in 2000," Bennie explained.
That’s when the former hospital administrator began the saga that would eat up more than a decade of her hard earned retirement. Bennie even says that when she tried to tell someone at the water department that she’d paid that bill long ago, an employee told her the system doesn’t go back that far. Years of phone calls, appeals and in-person visits would break some but this great-grandmother is firmly digging in her heels.
“At any point did you get so fed up that you thought I’m just going to pay this so it goes away?," FOX 29's Sabina Kuriakose asked.
“No, because I pay what I owe, I’m a person if I get a parking ticket I pay it," she said. “It’s my due diligence to prove to them that they got that money and I don’t owe them.”