SILVER CREEK – Several village residents complained about extremely high water bills at the regular meeting of the Village Board on Monday in the Municipal Building. Some residents said they received bills that were more than double their previous usage for water and sewer.
New meters were installed throughout the village in January, and the bills are the first using the new system. Mayor Nick Piccolo asked Water Department operator Herman Griewisch to explain. He said the older meters were often faulty and did not detect all the water used. He said some of them were installed in the 1980s and were old and outdated.
As an option, village residents who cannot pay large bills will be given a one-year payment plan without interest or penalties provided they make regular monthly payments on the bill.
Griewisch said the new meters should detect excess water usage and alert homeowners to potential leaks or problems. He said that master meters were installed on village lines that extend outside the village limits and that water usage will now be determined for water districts based on the master meter and individual lines.
Griewisch said the village hopes to switch to quarterly billing instead of twice a year to provide residents with smaller bills.
Also at the meeting:
• Board members approved the installation of a drug drop-off box at the Village Court office. The box will be there for anyone to drop off unused, outdated or leftover prescription or nonprescription medications.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace said the box will be emptied daily. People using the box do not need to provide identification or explanations for the drop-off. The sheriff said that abuse of prescription painkillers is a common problem and people who have unused drugs at their home should use the box to dispose of the pills. “We don’t want the drugs in our landfill or flushed down toilets and ending up in our water supply,” he said.
• Board members also voted to reduce the summer meetings to one each month, on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m.