News 5 Investigates

Nov 23, 2013 8:15 PM by Andy Koen

News 5 Guardians: Peyton woman gets $1,200 sewer bill

PEYTON - It's the kind of letter that gives you sticker shock. Pamela Potter was told she owed the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District $1,179.75 for overdue sewer payments.

She was taken aback by the news because she'd never heard of the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District. Her monthly water bill always came from the Falcon Highlands Metropolitan District. In fact, the collection letter was the first time anyone at Woodmen Hills had ever tried contacted her.

"This letter is actually not even a bill," she said in frustration. "It doesn't tell me what services they've provided; it just tells me that I owe them money."

The letter is dated Monday November 18, 2013. The post mark shows it was mailed Tuesday, and the mailman tried to deliver via certified mail Wednesday but Pamela wasn't home. She noticed the sticker on her door and called the post office on Thursday to see who sent it.

She eventually reached the receptionist at Woodmen Hills who told her about the past due account.

"She indicated rather hesitantly that it needed to be paid by Monday because the delinquent accounts were going to have to be turned over to the county tax assessor at that time," Pamela said.

The Monday due date seems to be an impromptu grace period. The collection letter specifically demanded payment by Thursday.

"Later in the conversation I asked her what contact had previously been attempted to be made to this residence and she indicated that they hadn't made contact since the billing began in February of 2011," Pamela explained.

Those calls never reached Pamela because she bought the home in the fall of 2011.

News 5 Investigates called the Woodmen Hills Metro District after-hours phone number and we were told no one could help us until Monday.

So, we called and then knocked on the doors of all of the district board members. Board President Keith Moulton, Secretary Al Kreps and Director Bryan Mendiola all declined to be interviewed. Vice President Robert Lovato and Treasurer Janice Pizzi didn't answer their door or the phone.

Moulton said over the phone that Pamela and the other delinquent property owners "had ample time to pay their bills."

Secretary Kreps said that two other customers had approached him earlier in the week with similar concerns about the short notice of the collection letters. As a result, he said the board voted at Thursday's meeting to extend the deadline to Monday.

Kreps wouldn't speculate on Pamela's issues but admitted the district's lawyer took too long to draft the collection letters causing the shortened notification period. 

Pamela just wishes someone would have tried to contact her sooner.

"Quite frankly, it's a poor business practice to not bill people number one and number two all you have to do is address it to occupant," she said.

Pamela plans to settle the bill with the water district on Monday. Kreps gave us assurances that he would look into how Pamela's account got so messed up.

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