Late Curb Bill Upsets Some Cheektowaga Neighbors

7:39 PM, Mar 11, 2013   |    comments
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Some neighbors in Cheektowaga are upset about a bill they just received for curbs put in on their street nearly two years ago.

Now, they are forced to come up with $1,000 by May 3, or pay interest.

Derrick Piatkowski has lived in his North Meadowbrook Parkway home in Cheektowaga for three years. About two years ago, the town put in new curbs when it completed part of a $60 million project to fix the sewers.

"It's been a Godsend because if you look down that way, it was Grand Canyon. It was terrible," says Piatkowski.

But, neighbors on the street just received bills for $1,000 each for the work last month. If they do not pay by May 3, it will get rolled into their taxes with a six-percent interest rate, the lowest allowed by the state.

"Something like this shouldn't happen, especially in today's economy. Gas prices are up to almost $4. Just not a good situation for everyone," says Piatkowski.

"Do you like the curbs?" asked Channel 2's Kelly Dudzik.

"I think it looks gorgeous out here, but for a $1,000 bill, you could take these curbs away," says Piatkowski.

The neighbors tell us this is not how it was explained to them in 2011. They say they received a letter from the town stating they could pay up front or have five years to pay.

The town attorney declined our request for an on-camera interview Monday, but told us since more than 50-percent of the residents signed a petition okaying the curbs and a public hearing was held, everyone has to pay.

According to the attorney, as long as notices about the hearing are posted in the neighborhood and in the paper, the project can move forward.

Piatkowski says those notices were not enough, and he never saw them.

"We are in the 21st century and everyone's got a computer now in their house. Email or a simple phone call. I'm sure our phone numbers are on lists. Not just a simple note or a posting or something like that," he says.

Some neighborhoods choose to not have curbs. The street around the corner from North Meadowbrook does not have them.

When we called the town, a woman who answered the phone apologized for the lateness of the bills, and the town reiterated that in the letter sent out with the bill.

Still, that's not good enough for Piatkowski who just has to bite the bullet and pay.

"How do you scrape together $1,000 by May?" asked Dudzik.

"That's a very good question. Probably cut groceries. Probably not go out for St. Patty's Day. Probably not go out for Dyngus Day. Probably just sacrifice a little bit, that's all," he said.

A lot of people we talked with Monday assumed the town is responsible for everything from the sidewalk to the street, but the town attorney tells me neighbors are responsible for paying for curbs.

A town councilmember told us over the phone that he does not know why this bookkeeping error happened, but people are still being charged the 2011 rate.

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