Nova Scotia

Cole Harbour man gets two Bridgetown water bills

A Cole Harbour resident is trying to figure out why the town of Bridgetown sent him two water bills even though he has never owned property there.
Phil Johnson has received two water bills from the town of Bridgetown. He's never lived there. ((CBC))
A Cole Harbour resident is trying to figure out why the town of Bridgetown sent him two water bills, totaling close to $270, when he has never owned property there.

Phil Johnson said the Bridgetown bills looks authentic and appear to be account statements showing he owes money for water service going back three years.

But Phil Johnson lives in Cole Harbour not Bridgetown.

"At first I thought it was a joke," Johnson said when the first bill arrived. When another statement turned up, he grew concerned. "We stopped smiling because there is something wrong here."

Bridgetown is about a two hour drive from Cole Harbour. ((Google Maps))
Johnson called officials in Bridgetown who asked him if he ever owned property there, but he has not.

"And they said 'That's odd'," Johnson recalled. "That's what I thought too."

It also turns out there is no phone listing for a Phil Johnson in the Bridgetown area.

Johnson said he has family connections there and donated to the fire hall about a year ago.

He received a tax receipt for the donation and said that could explain how the town got his address, but not why it would send a non-resident a water account statement.

Johnson also noted the bill did not include a customer account number, a standard item on other water bills the town issues.

Johnson said he wonders if the unusual statement is connected to news of financial woes in Bridgetown.

Earlier this week the town'smayor and council quit, saying the community's financial problems were too big for them to sort out.

The financial woes include a million-dollar debt for a new water system. Allegations have also surfaced about missing funds.

"When this all started coming out with what's happening in Bridgetown now, I thought maybe there was a connection here," Johnson said. "Right now it's a mystery and will get sorted out eventually."

Johnson isn't going to pay the bills, but local RCMP have asked him to hold onto the statements in case they become part of their investigation into the allegations of missing money. 

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