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Yuba City Collecting Over $200,000 From Businesses For Billing Error

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YUBA CITY (CBS13) – Yuba City business owners could soon be getting an unexpected bill in the mail. The city council voted to force businesses to pay for a billing error that undercharged for wastewater.

Although Yuba City says this was a mistake they made, they also say they can’t let it slide. In all, they’re owed $211,000.

“An error that big should have been caught much sooner,” said Tracy Schneller at The Mercantile.

Schneller says she’s always kept her retail business’ books in order, and doesn’t think she should pay for Yuba City’s mistake.

“When you have an error that big, there should have been somebody auditing that, monitoring that, and I don’t think it should fall back on the businesses,” she said.

The city realized that it has been under billing businesses for wastewater for the past year, when a city engineer finally discovered the error.

“It’s embarrassing we made the mistake,” said City Manager Steve Jepsen.

Jepsen says the city has no choice but to charge businesses the $211,000 they owe.

“If we don’t collect from somebody during the course of the year, that means it needs to be made up some place else,” said Jepsen.

Now, a few hundred businesses will be forced to pay several hundred dollars.

“I think it’s their mistake, they ought to bite the bullet and pay it themselves,” said Lloyd Bullard.

Bullard, a barber, hopes he’s one of the lucky ones to avoid a bill. The charge would put an unexpected cut in his bottom line.

“It’s not in the budget for a small business owner; they’re barely making it as it is,” he said.

Even Yuba City was one of the under billed entities. They now owe themselves a check for $4,000.

The city says it is willing to work on a payment plan if businesses have trouble affording the charge.

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