The Village of Poynette has finished calculating the charges for the incorrect billing of meter and fire protection charges and is planning to send bills out in July.
The bills come following a 2018 water rate study where the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) discovered a number of errors in how the Village of Poynette was charging customers on their water bills.
Some of the issues found were customers were in the wrong class, did not have a meter charge on their bill or received an incorrect charge. There were seven of these customers identified, with back bills ranging from around $15 to $680.
The most significant discovery was around half of all residential properties were being underbilled for the fire protection charge. This has been happening since a 2013 rate case but the village is only allowed to bill for the last two years.
There were 511 customers identified that were underbilled with varying degrees of charges. Of those, 29 owed $5 or less and were removed from being back billed; 55 customers have moved away with 28 of those being billed to their last known address; and five customers have already been billed.
There are 422 customer left to be billed with around half of all customers owing less than $50. There are around 200 customers that owe $50-200 and one customer that owes over $400 but less than $500.
The Poynette utility is expecting to collect around $30,000 in underbilled charges, according to a memo from Village Administrator Martin Shanks.
In the past, Poynette has been charging customers based on the square footage of their property, which Shanks has said only five communities in Wisconsin do because it is difficult to keep track of. The new method Poynette would be adopting would charge based on the size of the property’s water meter.
The village is planning on sending out a notice before the bill to make customers aware of the increase along with a list of answers to possible questions people may have.
The Village Board decided affected customers will have up to a year to pay the back bills, as long as they set up a deferred payment agreement with the village.
Volunteer recognition policy
The Village Board has been looking into a process for recognizing volunteers in the community over the last couple months.
Trustee Chris Polzer sought thoughts and ideas for way to acknowledge volunteers who contributed to the benefit of the community overall. The board brought forth a policy at their meeting Tuesday, May 28.
The plan is to advertise a nomination form in October and have an advisory committee meet in November to review them and select an individual. The person selected will be given the option to opt out of receiving recognition and the committee will select another person. The Village Board will then recognize the individual with a resolution and plaque at the first Village Board meeting in December.
In other business, the Village Board discussed the following:
- Ordinance creating Title V Chapter 5.03 I, J and K related to a no parking zone on West Seward Street
- Ordinance amending Title VI Chapter 1.01 deposit schedule
- Right of way granted to Park Place Rentals, LLC for Bethel Drive
- Restated Fire and Emergency Protection Agreement for the Poynette-Dekorra Fire Protection District