Community rallies to help longtime southwest Fresno resident
Corine Reed noticed her water bill going up.
One month it was $79. The next $110. Then, came a bill for $321.35.
There were tree roots in her yard that caused a crack in a service line. It was leaking 30 gallons of water per hour — hence the increased bills. Reed and her daughter spend the past six months trying to finding a solution that wasn’t going to put the longtime southwest Fresno resident in a financial hardship.
“How is a 100-year-old woman on social security going to pay for that?” says Aline Reed, whose mother has lived in the home for nearly 70 years.
Thanks to support from the community, she didn’t have to.
After the family reached out to the city, council member Miguel Arias and Reverend Floyd Harris, a crew arrived Friday to remove the tree and replace the broken line.
Work on the tree was paid for and completed by Jack Benigno Tree Service, which came in from Visalia. Fresno mayor Lee Brand found an anonymous donor to pay for the pipe repair, which was completed by a city crew.
The city will also credit Reed for any penalties or delinquency charges for late payments over the past six months.
“While the law clearly says the responsibility for repairs on private property rests with the owner, I was moved by Corine’s story and immediately started looking for a solution that would fix the problem,” mayor Lee Brand said in a new release following a meeting with Reed on Thursday.
“It was gratifying to talk with Corine’s daughter today and let her know that help is on the way.”
Having the tree removed and the pipe fixed was welcomed relief, Aline Reed says. She wasn’t sure what would have happened if the community hadn’t stepped in.
“My parents have been in this house a long time and worked very hard to keep it,” she says. “None of this would have happened with out the community,” many of whom, Ailene Reed notes, deluged city hall with phone calls.
All of this was not without a bit of irony, either Aline Reed says.
Her mother always knew the trees were going to be trouble.
“When they planted the tree in the 1950s, she didn’t want it.”