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Dishes by any other name

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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Seamaster on Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:52 pm

I have seen frost on the windows in the morning!
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  PhotoOtaku on Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:30 am

Iago wrote:Yes, it was a culture shock coming home -- although it looks like it is going to get up to 70 or so today. (Yes, PO, you can keep your temperatures to yourself!)

No problem. Don't even have the energy to type, it's so hot here.

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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:07 am

Well, we will say a prayer for you. It might be imprecatory, but a prayer nonetheless.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:55 am

Since I don't believe in prayer, I'll just think mischevious thoughts.


Last edited by ethelred on Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:57 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  agent1a on Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:33 pm

PhotoOtaku wrote:
Iago wrote:Yes, it was a culture shock coming home -- although it looks like it is going to get up to 70 or so today. (Yes, PO, you can keep your temperatures to yourself!)

No problem. Don't even have the energy to type, it's so hot here.

mmm i hope the Rockabilly girls in HOT hot Cali are wearing less and less clothing then



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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:13 am

I would have you run up to Osceola and build one for us, but the city is already killing me on water bills!
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:21 am

Iago wrote:I would have you run up to Osceola and build one for us, but the city is already killing me on water bills!

Fortunately, I live just outside the city limits (my south property line is the city limits) so I have my own water supply.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:43 am

You missed that whole deal, but I am currently attempting to take the city to court over this deal.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:02 pm

I did that over a technicality with my wife's liqour license and we won. I've also won a suit with the local school district. What I have found is that local government is generally pretty incompetent. If you do the leg work on the law and just use the lawyer for the paperwork, you probably have a good chance of winning.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  agent1a on Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:13 pm

ethelred wrote:.... What I have found is that local government is generally pretty incompetent. If you do the leg work on the law and just use the lawyer for the paperwork, you probably have a good chance of winning.

same incompetence up here - must be universal
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:26 pm

This is not so much incompetence as mendacity. I take that back -- there is plenty of incompetency as well. But I am trying to avoid a lawyer.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:37 pm

Iago wrote: But I am trying to avoid a lawyer.

Personal opinion here, but probably not a good move.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  PhotoOtaku on Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:29 pm

While I have no doubt, absolutely no doubt that Iago's "due diligence" would far exceed the lawyer he would hire, ...I think you need a lawyer on the "team" too.

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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:25 am

Adds credibility.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:04 am

In this case, I have my reasons for preferring not to do so. Even if I end up losing, I then have other avenues to pursue.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Seamaster on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:46 pm

How many appeals are you allowed in the US?
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:20 pm

Smile
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:40 am

Appeals are not what I have in mind. A scan of the Wisconsin Criminal and Circuit court systems has revealed some very interesting information about two board members (one involves both misdemeanor fraud and felony child abuse.) If I lose this case against them, I am going to suddenly become very politically active -- board elections are coming up in a couple of years.

The lawyers for the Village filed a motion for dismissal, and I filed my response this morning. I may not have the benefit of a lawyer, but I was nonetheless able to find several factual errors in the motion (including a mistake in the dollar amount that we currently owe the Village, which contradicts the correct amount given in an attached affidavit from the Village Administrator.) They may still get their dismissal or win at court, but if so they will find life very interesting at election time. I have no real desire to run for the Village Board, but I will if they continue to be unresponsive. I certainly can do no worse than a convicted felon!

The irony is that all of this is over the sewer portion of a water and sewer bill that does not accurately reflect our actual usage, and the Village has admitted that it does not. They are simply sticking to their guns over a technicality regarding notification of a change in a Village ordinance -- essentially, their position is that even though we did not see the notification and as a result got an incorrect bill, that is our tough luck and we have to pay bill that they acknowledge is incorrect. We paid the water portion promptly and have been trying to get a corrected sewer bill so that we can pay that as well, but they refuse to give us one. I have never had to battle someone like this before who I AM TRYING TO GIVE MY MONEY TO.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:02 pm

their position is that even though we did not see the notification and as a result got an incorrect bill, that is our tough luck and we have to pay bill that they acknowledge is incorrect.

How would not seeing a notification, cause them to send you an incorrect billing. Did their notification rquire you to respond in such a way that would cause the billing to be correct, whereas, a lack of response would automatically result in an incorrect billing?
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:09 pm

They used to calculate sewer usage for the summer based on quarterly averages from the winter quarters. That was to account for outdoor water usage (such as underground sprinkler systems.) They changed that as of 12/09 so that you have to have an outdoor usage meter installed instead. The only notification that they sent was a posting in the want ad page of the Osceola Sun and a notice on their website. We do not subscribe to the Sun and were unaware of the fact that we had to to receive notifications. We also have no internet access at home, and I had never had a reason to look at the City's website.

There were two cryptic messages on the Q4 09 and Q1 10 bills, the first of which simply said "new sewer rates have been calculated" and the second of which said "outside use meters available." Those were single sentences in 10 pt print buried on the bottom of a postcard, which is all the City sends for bills. I did not even see the messages, let alone put the two together (which were received three months apart) and deduce that summer sewer rates were no longer calculated based on winter quarterly averages.

We found out when we received a $688 water and sewer bill for Q2. We called the city and were told to address our concerns at the Water and Sewer committee meetings, and then again at the full Village Board meetings. We were not the only residents adversely affected, nor the only ones at the Board meeting. We asked them to recalculate our Q2 bills based on the old average system, but bill us at the new rate. (None of us are disputing the fact that the City raised its rates, just that they failed to give us sufficient notification of the change -- or any notification about how the City provides notificaiton, for that matter.) They told the residents at the meeting that we were in the "minority" -- their words -- so they would not make any changes.

All of the residents affected were relatively new ones -- most of them were from our development, which was built in 2005. I was later told by several different people that the board is an "old boy's club," and unless you have lived in the City for years they literally will do nothing for you. Moreover, I know that members of the board communicated the need for an outside meter to friends, neighbors and relatives, so while the City may have obeyed the letter of the law by posting in the local newspaper, they have not provided equal protection of the law to all residents -- some people in town did receive direct verbal communication from board members about the change while others, namely, the newer residents did not.

One of the other residents actually complained to the board that they were punishing the new kids on the block. The frustrating thing is that we want to pay them and are still trying to pay them. Since the affected residents are in the "minority," then surely it is no hardship for the City to correct a handful of bills and communicate clearly to the affected residents that we are responsible to keep track of things ourselves in this town. Which is what I now do, of course.
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  agent1a on Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:39 pm

Iago wrote:In this case, I have my reasons for preferring not to do so. Even if I end up losing, I then have other avenues to pursue.

plant the bombs carefully and make sure your not seen

and for God's sake don't become a politician
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:45 pm

Interesting situation. Reading between the lines, I think the answer to my question is "yes." It sounds like you were billed at a higher rate because you did not have the outside-use meter installed.

I think your case has merit but I do not think you can legally withhold payment. Withholding payment will weaken your case. I believe you need to make the payment and then sue them for a refund based on the issue of equal protection.

We could use someone like Mofo at this point in the discussion. Smile
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  Iago on Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:57 pm

Well, the payment issue is actually an interesting point. When we called them originally, they suggested paying the water portion only until we were able to attend the committee and board meetings. In fact, we were told that a late charge would be added automatically, but that they would remove the late fee once the board had made a decision (since the board meetings were after the due date.) So at the board meeting where they voted against us, one of the board members suggested that it may be a "hardship" for people to pay the bill at all at once, so the Q2 bill should be prorated over the next three billings. His motion passed unanimously.

So when we filed against them in small claims court, the papers from their lawyer said that the late fee was added on the due date and and made no mention of the offer to remove the late fee. Also, we received the Q3 bill, which has the full unpaid balance from the Q2 billing and the late fee added to it. No waived fee and no proration. I included copies of all that (including the minutes of the meeting where they voted to prorate the Q2 billing.)

Also, the key point in the motion for dismissal was that under some obsucre statute we had failed to file a Notice of Claim with the Village and as a result the circuit court system has no jurisdiction in the matter. They included a notarized affidavit from the Village Administrator that he was aware of the statue and had searched his records for this Notice of Claim and could not find it. The problem with that is that the Village Administrator has been our source of information for pursuing this matter, and he failed to notify us that we had to file this claim. He is the one who told us that we could express our concerns at the committee and board meetings, but that the decision of the board was final. If he in fact knew that we could go one step further by filing this Claim with the Village, he failed to disclose that fact.


And yes, the problem is that we did not get this meter installed. We are not questioning the need for the meter -- simply that we did not know about it. By the way, once we found out about it, we asked the City to come out and install the meter as soon as possible, and they dragged their feet for over three weeks, during which time we had to water the lawn. (This was in July when it was bone dry.) So our Q3 bill is also way too high (at around $450.) The irony is that we rarely ran it in August and September since it rained quite a bit, so the majority of the overage in that bill is from when they were dragging their feet. We brought that during the board meeting and said that even if they would not adjust the Q2 bill, they had to adjust the Q3 bill since that was their fault. They told us that they could not do so because it would be "too difficult."
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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  PhotoOtaku on Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:05 am

I might be over simplifying things, but "you can't win in a fight with Government". It's just going to be a lot more expensive than the "inaccurate" portion of a quarterly water/ sewer bill if you keep perusing it.

In this situation, I do feel your pain though. Everything you stated makes it look so simple to fix, until you realize your dealing with Politicos.

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Re: Dishes by any other name

Post  ethelred on Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:42 am

[b]I might be over simplifying things, but "you can't win in a fight with Government". It's just going to be a lot more expensive than the "inaccurate" portion of a quarterly water/ sewer bill if you keep perusing it.
[b]

Yes, no, and maybe. You make a good point. The case I won with the city of Sparta cost about $2100 for attourney's fees. The result of the victory was that my wife was allowed to keep her liqour license for an additional 6 months in the hope that she might sell it for $10,000 ( the amount she initially paid for it). Unfortunately, she was not able to sell the license. Fortunately, members of the local Tavern League backed her and paid the attourney's fees.

In the case I won with the school district. Part of the settlement involved the school district paying the attourney fees.

For better or worse, I have found that at my age I do more things because of the principle involved and less because it is the expedient action to take. When I was younger I couldn't afford such actions (career-wise or financially) even though I may have sometimes chosen an inexpedient path.


Last edited by ethelred on Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added comment at end)
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