Whopping water bill

February 17, 2009 3:11:35 PM PST
68-year-old Carmela DiNato & her 77-year-old husband Guiseppe use water for things like washing dishes, cooking and showering. That's why this month's water bill was so shocking to the Italian immigrants.

Action News reporter Denise James asked, "$114-thousand dollars. You don't have that kind of money lying around to pay?"

"Where am I gonna get Take my house to get it," answered Guiseppe.

The bill from Maple Shade Township was $114,763.80 to be exact, which is about 4,000 times the retired seamstress and dockworker's typical $200 to $300 monthly charge.

"I know it's a mistake. So I ain't worried. I ain't worried," Carmela said.

Still their 17-year-old grandson drove them to the township building to investigate.

"They called and told me about the bill. I said get out of here. They said yeah. You been taking too much showers over there," Joe said. "It's a misread. I'm sure of that."

It turns out the DiNato's bill should have been about $137.00, that's a difference of $114,626.42. The township traced the problem to a software glitch.

"When it goes from one software to other software it's supposed to roll over correctly. Apparently it's not doing that," explained Denise Lawler who is a Maple Shade tax collector.

"I'm relief now. Still nervous. No more. Big relief. Better not happen no more," Guiseppe said.

Half a dozen households received similarly large bills. The township wants the problem fixed before the next billing cycle spits out more stressful billing surprises.

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