Lake Placid tries to make sewer payback easier

LAKE PLACID – The village of Lake Placid has taken another step to ease the pain of back payments for sewer customers who were undercharged by a total of $111,000 over the course of five quarters.

“We were able to, by establishing separate accounts, segregate all of the corrected amounts so that they are being billed on a separate document,” Mayor Craig Randall said at Monday’s village Board of Trustees meeting. “They’re being billed at a rate of one-eighth per quarter, for eight quarters. … We were able to set it up so there will be no late charges whatsoever on those corrected amounts.”

About 300 sewer customers, all of whom live outside the village, were billed at a flat rate for more than a year because of a software error. The mistake meant that those customers weren’t charged for usage over 2,000 cubic feet of water per quarter, even though they should have been.

The village isn’t legally allowed to forgive the money owed because that would be considered a gift of services.

The board originally planned to seek repayment over a three-quarter period but decided to extend the amount of time.

Randall said Monday the separate bills will contain information explaining the charges.

“They can come in anytime and pay it all off, or they can make the one-eighth payment,” he said, “so long as they’re remaining current on their bill otherwise.”

Randall added that many people have already paid their bills. He noted that affected customers won’t face interest or other penalties on the segregated bills for up to two years.

Randall thanked village Treasurer Peggy Mousaw and the accounting office for setting up the separate accounts.