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Huge water bill divides Phelps

This Ontario County town and the Phelps-Clifton Springs school district are at a standstill over a disputed water bill of nearly $32,000, with town officials saying if the bill isn’t paid in about a month, they plan to shut off water to the Midlakes campus.

Town Supervisor Norm Teed and Town Board member Dennis King, along with town bookkeeper Barb Middlebrook, met with a Times reporter Wednesday.

“Absolutely,” Teed said when asked if the town was serious about cutting off water to the schools. “Is that what we want to do? No. That would be a drastic step. We could have shut off their water months ago.”

At issue is a water bill of nearly $22,200 for the first quarter of 2018. Middlebrook said the average quarterly bill for the school district is between $3,500 and $5,000.

Since the district has refused to pay the $22,200 bill, the town has assessed a 10-percent late penalty for each quarter since then. As of now, the bill is about $31,700.

The town claims the district used more than 3 million gallons of water during the first four months of 2018. Teed said the district had a previous issue with a water leak late in 2017 that resulted in a bill of about $8,000 and paid the bill.

Teed is guessing the reason for the $22,000 bill was a leak in the school pool, causing water to continually run to keep the pool full.

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