The city calls them courtesy letters.
But they’re more like warning letters.
This week, the thousands of Colorado Springs property owners who haven’t paid their storm water fees started to receive letters in the mail reminding them that they have “one final chance” to pay their bills before they’re referred to collections.
“The letter included a tear-off payment coupon that lists the total amount due, including applicable late fees,” city spokeswoman Mary Scott said today in an e-mail.
“This gives those property owners one final chance to pay the fees before they (are) turned over to A-1 Collections on or about April 21, 2010,” she said.
Scott said there are about 15,000 delinquent storm water accounts, totaling about $2.5 million in past-due fees, including late fees.
“If someone owns multiple properties with delinquent fees, they would get one letter for each as it was too time-consuming to try to separate and match up owners and addresses,” she said.
Among the property owners who received multiple letters is anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce, who authored ballot Issue 300, a voter-approved initiative that prompted the City Council to eliminate the Stormwater Enterprise.
Bruce, who owns multiple properties in the Springs, is telling residents who haven’t paid their storm water fees not to pay.
“I haven’t paid for three years,” Bruce said in an e-mail to Paul Baranek, who asked Bruce for advice after receiving a so-called courtesy letter in the mail. “It’s all a bluff.”
Baranek told Bruce he stopped paying his storm water bill after Issue 300 passed.
“Now I received a letter saying I owe the last payment, plus a penalty, and if I don’t pay it within 30 days, my name will be sent to a collection agency,” Baranek said in an e-mail to Bruce, which Bruce forwarded to The Gazette.
Bruce encouraged Baranek to go to this Web site, www.cityreforms.com, for “advice on how to sue the city to get a refund.”