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March 7, 2013

Jeffersonville drainage board owes Kroger nearly $60,000

Gas station was over-billed for seven years

JEFFERSONVILLE — Two payments were at the heart of the discussion by the city’s Drainage Board Tuesday night.

One claim was a somewhat minimal request for the board to split the cost of a TV purchased for its meeting room. The second claim, however, saw the board on the hook for refunding nearly $60,000 to a local business. 

“We evidently have over-billed Kroger for the last ... seven years I think,” said board member Grant Morton. “I don’t know how that happened.”

According to the report offered to the board, the Kroger gas station in front of the grocery store on 10th Street was being charged the equivalent of 20 acres of commercial property.

As a result, the gas station was being charged about $855 per month — or about $10,600 per year. The total the city overcharged Kroger over a seven-year period — and which is owed in repayment — is $59,569.

“This property was mismeasured,” said Deb Ashack, the city’s stormwater coordinator.  “The calculations that were done originally were based on erroneous measurements. Other properties may be equally erroneous. I’m not saying they’re over-paying or under-paying, it just emphasizes the need for the drainage board to move forward with accurately measuring the impervious surface at all non-residential properties. This is a very expensive lesson,” she said.

Commercial properties, including multi-family dwellings, are charged based on the amount of impervious surface on the properties. All single-family, residential properties are charged a flat rate of $3.50 per month.

Drainage Board Attorney Scott Lewis said the refund to Kroger has already been approved by the city’s sewer billing office and the statute of limitations allows the company to go back seven years to challenge the amount it was being charged.

“This would definitely be a claim they would win in a court of law,” he said.

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