Rotterdam residents in one of the town sewer districts may not see a billing problem resolved until next year’s tax bill.
Deputy Supervisor Charles “Jack” Dodson during a Wednesday night board meeting urged residents in Sewer District 2 Extension 1 to pay their bills, which significantly increased this year due to a billing error, so they don’t face consequences.
Since receiving their tax bills around Jan. 3, around 150 residents have called town hall to ask what exactly caused the jump in costs.
Lisa Rosen of Curry Road was one of those residents.
“Is it a computer glitch?” she asked. “Is it a debt service? I don’t know because I’ve called your office about five or six times. I’ve left numerous messages. I help pay all of your salaries. I don’t understand why you couldn’t give me the decency of a phone call to tell me at least you were looking into it. If it is a debt service, I’d like a full explanation of what that means and why I have to pay it.”
Years ago the town made capital improvement projects to the treatment plant and other areas of Sewer District 2 that some of the extensions are connected to, Dodson said Thursday afternoon.
“That debt is due,” he said.
He said when billing was being done, somehow the debt due this year — around $144,000 — was only applied to the residents in Extension 1 rather than all of the extensions that were part of the project. The district consists of 15 extensions.
The town is now trying to figure out how to remedy the situation. However, Dodson said, that may not happen until the next tax cycle.
“No one has convinced us at this point and time that we can change the situation that we are in,” Dodson said Wednesday night at the board meeting.
Both Dodson and Supervisor Mollie Collins said they talked to county officials who indicated that once tax rolls were set and bills were sent out, it was hard to stop the ball from rolling.
Dodson said the town knows all the properties that have been impacted by the mistake and they will be receiving a letter regarding the issue.
“Is there a legal mechanism where we could at least perhaps waive the interest and penalties?” asked Board Member Evan Christou.
“No, there’s no waiver of interest or penalty on tax bills,” said Town Attorney Jonathon Tingley.
Collins said she had even tried to get the pay date pushed back to March and that wasn’t an option either.