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Some Avon town residents fearful for their next water bill

(WHAM photo)

Avon, N.Y. (13WHAM) - For many homeowners, getting the water bill isn't a concern. But for some homeowners in the Town of Avon, it's a point of worry.

"I have a very large swimming pool, and I could be in for quite a surprise," said David Coyne, who owns a business and a home in the town. He says he had to refill his 48,000 gallon pool several times last summer.

Coyne is one of the some 550 customers with manual water meters whose accounts are in question. According to Avon Town Supervisor David LaFeber, discrepancies came to light over bills and water usage earlier this year when the town switched to a new billing system.

"There's a possibility of some estimation going on," said LaFeber. "Estimation versus actual reads in the manual meters, we know there's some of that going on. To what extent, we don't know."

Meaning some customers have been paying for water they didn't use, and others not charged for water they did use.

The problem grew so quickly, the town hired the Bonadio Group, an accounting firm, to help figure out the issue.

At this time, it's still unclear how many customers are affected, and to what extent. It's also unknown how long the issue went undetected. LaFeber says the issue prompted former water superintendent, Dan McKeown, to resign.

"When the Bonadio group gets completed, we'll have an idea where we are with each account," said LaFeber.

Adam Wheeler is a town water customer who had a digital water meter installed in his Avon home earlier this year.

He says he's lived in his home for six years, and had very consistent water bills until this year.

"Every quarter, we'd get a bill for $50," said Wheeler. "No matter how much or how little we were using, it was $50."

But that all changed once he got a digital water meter installed. His bill climbed to more than $100.

"I took a look at what (the meter) said, and then when I got the bill I looked at it, and they matched pretty closely," said Wheeler, regarding his water usage. "So I would assume putting a new meter on has accurately identified how much water I was using."

After learning of the potential issues with the town's water billing, he's another homeowner anxiously awaiting his next water bill.

"Hoping it's back to between $50-$100," said Wheeler.

Town Supervisor LaFeber says the town should have the results of the investigation in the next coming weeks, meaning customers who have been affected could know the next time they get their water bill.

LaFeber insisted the town will continue to work with residents to try and remedy the issue.

"We have to, that’s the only thing to do, is to fix it," said LaFeber. "Do the right thing, and make sure it doesn’t happen again."

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