Fix the New Paltz Water Meter Problem

Fix the New Paltz Water Meter Problem

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Matthew Friday started this petition to Town Board of New Paltz and

We the undersigned are writing this letter in response to the town’s recent acquisition and installation of new water meters. During this process, many homeowners received massive and completely unexpected bills. We have been informed that these bills are the result of a discrepancy between the external meters the town had been using to record and bill water usage, and the internal meter readings that were taken during the installation process. 

We fully recognize and support the town’s move to update the water metering system and applaud our administration’s efforts to achieve a more equitable and sustainable water infrastructure. However, we must take issue with the way these changes have been implemented, especially in regards to how homeowners are now being asked to pay for back charges. We’ve listed the main points of our argument below:

  • It is the town’s responsibility to maintain meters and take accurate readings.
  • By their own admission, the town was aware that the external meters they were using to bill customers were inaccurate or completely non-functional.
  • Even after becoming aware of this problem the town continued, for several years, to use the inaccurate external meters rather than the internal meters. In some cases, external meters were completely absent or broken and the town billed customers based on an estimate, even though the internal meters could provide an accurate reading. 
  • It appears that the town did not take readings off of the internal meters during some home purchases, which means that some homeowners are almost certainly being asked to pay for the usage of the previous owners.
  • At no time during the transfer to the new meter system did the town notify citizens that they would be back-billed for any potential discrepancy. 
  • Initial communications received from the town about this issue have been confusing and did not fully explain the reason for the increased bill, nor did they offer any potential for remediation or alternative forms of payment. 
  • Attempts to fix this issue through contact with town administrators has not resulted in a satisfactory resolution.
  • Being forced to pay for a discrepancy caused by several years of negligence on the part of the town is unacceptable, especially when we were led to believe that our bills were accurate and up-to-date.
  • Receiving a bill, in some cases in excess of several thousand dollars, has created significant financial hardship and emotional stress for many families.

In light of these issues, we are requesting that the people affected by these problems have their discrepancies waived and no penalties be assessed. 

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