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Schoharie: Public Demands Forgiveness For Huge Bills

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/12/24 | 4/12/24

By Joshua Walther

SCHOHARIE - The latest Schoharie Village Board meeting was more crowded than usual, with outraged residents showing up in droves to push back against their latest water bill.

For the past few years, Schoharie has been plagued with problems surrounding its water meters. Whether the meters physically fail or the software is on the fritz, the Village has always had to battle certain errors within their system.

It came to the Board’s attention last year that around 120 people, or just over one-ninth of the population of Schoharie, were affected by meters just like those. While they were reading and recording water data, it wasn’t properly sent to the software, and so those people were billed a minimum charge for the time being.

However, the Village has recently been rolling out an initiative to replace those meters. As they accept the old ones, officials are able to see the historical data that they preserved, and now the Village wants to set things right by billing the correct amount.

Unfortunately, it was decided along the way that they’d bill the full amount all at once. Now, residents that were paying $169 are now facing charges for between $800 and $2,000.

These affected residents showed up on Tuesday evening to make their displeasure known. They railed the Board for failing to give the residents ample warning or a timeframe for repayment and said that the responsibility did not fall on them.

“We shouldn’t have to pay for your mistakes,” several anonymous residents chanted. “You should have fixed this a year ago, not just now.”

Although the Board did attempt to defend itself by saying their newsletter contained information about failing meters, it acknowledged how large of a misstep it truly was. Attempting to regain the public’s favor, members explained that they were on their side.

“We can’t expect you to pay that tomorrow morning,” Peter Johnson said as acting chair of the Board. “We can’t turn the clock back. We will deal with this in a way that will be reasonable.”

However, the public refused to settle for what Mr. Johnson described as reasonable. They said that the meters should be wiped clean and they should be billed the correct amount going forward and demanded complete forgiveness for last year.

However, as much as they were on the public’s side, Mr. Johnson and the other members still believed that they should be charged for the water that was used. Eventually, the Board decided to tackle the issue on a situational basis for each individual.

The Board invites any affected residents within the Village of Schoharie to call their office or look out for new notices on their website with more information, and they will be sending postcards in the mail to reach out if anyone has further issues.



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