Just Another Guy with Opinions

Blind Woman Threatened Over Unpaid Bill

Posted by shadmia on November 20, 2008

Office ComputerPennyHouse Auction

Here is a story about computer-assisted bungling bureaucrats. 74-year-old Eileen Wilbur, who is also blind, is in serious trouble with the city of Attleboro, Mass. They have threatened to put a lien on her house plus a $48 penalty if her overdue water bill is not paid by Dec. 10. Eileen received the disturbing news when her daughter opened the letter. It sent her blood pressure through the roof. Eileen Wilbur owes the city of Attleboro, Mass. 1 cent. In an interview with The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro Eileen noted that postage stamps cost 42 cents.

City Collector Debora Marcoccio said the letter was among 2,000 sent out to residents with delinquent water bills for the period covering July 2007 to July 2008. She said their computer system prints out bills with overdue balances automatically. The notices are not checked by the staff before being mailed out to the offending parties.

Debora Marcoccio, showing that she is a true professional, did however have a question.

“My question is, how come it wasn’t paid when the (original) bills went out?” Marcoccio said.

She was not questioning the cost of having to generate a bill and mail it for the penny that was owed – after all as Eileen pointed out, the stamp alone costs 42 cents. She was not even questioning the stupidity of threatening to place a lien on Eileen’s house for a penny – I wonder how much that would cost. She was seriously concerned about why Eileen Wilbur did not pay her water bill. Debora Marcoccio is a true bureaucrat.

Eileen Wilbur’s daughter, Rose Brederson, who discovered the bill in her mother’s mail, called the situation “ridiculous.” But she said her mother, who has lived in the home since 1959, would likely end up paying the penny.

For Eileen’s sake and the bureaucrats of Attleboro, Mass., I hope she can come up with the cash before the Dec. 10th deadline or she may just find herself homeless.

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One Response to “Blind Woman Threatened Over Unpaid Bill”

  1. Jay said

    And I question why these people called the newspaper INSTEAD OF CITY HALL. Don’t you think anyone on the receiving end of the phone call at City Hall would have spared a penny for this complaining woman and her daughter? The bills don’t print out with BLIND OLD LADY above the address line. She and her daughter AND the newspaper made fools of Attleboro City Government when she should have paid her entire bill in the first place. If everyone short-changed the city a penny it would add up.

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