One Brewster resident is set to receive a colossal bill from the village that left trustees raising their eyebrows.
The village board passed a resolution unanimously (with trustee Terry Stockburger not present) last Wednesday that put in motion a retroactive water bill and sewer bill that totaled more than $24,000 to be sent to Thomas Almond of Oak Street for six years of back pay owed to the village.
Because of a malfunctioning water meter, Almond was paying dramatically less—the about the minimum for the four apartments he owns—for water and sewer. When the meter was recently changed out, village clerk Peter Hansen said that is when it was discovered the long time Brewster resident wasn’t paying nearly close to his fair share.
Hansen added during the meeting that he only sent Almond a letter that indicated a bill would be coming, but didn’t yet disclose the amount until the board signed off on it.
The notice was sent out to the Almonds residence Thursday and it was received.
When The Putnam Examiner contacted and spoke with Tom Almond’s wife, Anna, Friday afternoon, it was the first she heard of the huge bill coming her way. While Almond sounded shocked and upset over the phone, she declined comment until she saw the bill from the village with her own eyes. When reached Monday, Almond said she’d like to hold off on an interview until possibly a later date.
When reached Monday, Hansen said he heard from Almond and it appeared they would be disputing the bill.
The village has actually lost money from the faulty meter for eight or nine years, Hansen said, but law only allowed them to charge for the past six years.
Board members also discussed the parameters in which they would allow Almond to pay the bill off. Mayor Jim Schoenig said he would not give the resident more than two years; stating Almond could pay $1,000 a month for the next two years. Meanwhile, Trustee Christine Piccini suggested the village possibly give him six years to pay off the debt since that’s the amount of years of back pay they are forcing him to fork over.
The board ultimately decided to have Hansen negotiate with the Almonds and see what payment plans they are able to handle. Once that’s determined, Hansen said he would come back to the board for approval.
“But you can safely say if he says ‘I need ten years,’ you can safely say that’s not going to fly,” Piccini said.