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Glitch causes errors in water/sewer bills

April 03, 2007|By KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

Some property owners who are feeling soaked by cost increases can blame a computer glitch for water and sewer bills from the City of Hagerstown that are higher than normal.

Because of a software problem, some customers' Chesapeake Bay restoration fee charges were 180 times higher than what they actually owe, City of Hagerstown Director of Finance Alfred Martin said Tuesday. City employees caught the mistake Thursday afternoon, but 220 bills with the erroneous math were mailed that morning.

"Instead of charging what it should have, it charged 180 times what it should have charged," Martin said.

Martin said he does not know how much the overcharges are worth, or if anyone has paid the wrong amount. Bills with the appropriate charges were sent Monday, and anyone who paid too much will be issued a check, he said.

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Martin said the bills were sent to people with multi-family or commercial properties on the city's south side.

The bay restoration fee is $7.50 a quarter per equivalent dwelling unit. Martin said the glitch caused that amount to be multiplied by 180.

"What's a little disturbing is that they haven't been able to tell us exactly what happened here that caused this to blow up on these particular bills," Martin said.

The City of Hagerstown charges customers on a rolling basis. Martin said about 25,000 customers pay for water and sewer services from the City of Hagerstown.

People with questions about their bills may call the billing and customer service department at 301-790-4160.

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