EVANS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Residents in Evans have reached their boiling point after opening their water bills and discovering that in one month's time, the fees have doubled, and in some cases quadrupled.
The bills weren't sent out in error, and according to the Town Supervisor, it's to make up for up to 13 years of mismanagement. But residents say they were given no warning about the sudden increase. At the first meeting since receiving their bills, residents turned up the pressure on board members.
MORE | Watch the video with the story to see Supervisor Keith Dash's explanation for the high water bills
The town dissolved it's water department and began contracting with the Erie County Water Authority. Now residents will be paying a lot more for their water.
Resident Bob Catalano said, "This is awful. I want somebody to tell me who we can blame for this, who did this to me."
Without naming names, current Town Supervisor Kevin Dash pointed to at least 13 years of mismanagement under previous administrations. He says the town had to switch to the Water Authority because the town's water system was getting old and needed upgrading, and the town hadn't prepared for it.
In fact, the water rates hadn't been raised for years.
"It's a great gig. You don't raise the rates, you get re-elected, and consequently some of them served long periods of terms," Dash said.
But now its payback time on $16 million in water-related debt. And because of the new minimums, residents like Catherine Brennan are paying about four times more.
"They've come up with a figure and everybody, whether you use the water or don't, you have to pay for it," she said.
Dash says an audit six years ago warned of this impending doom, but the audit was never shared with board members.
So it isn't that water rates doubled. The bills in Evans increased to help pay back the $16 million debt over the next 30 years.
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