An Antioch, CA couple was charged for three decades of sewer services that they never received. After finally noticing the mistake on their property tax bill, Irene and Louis Ramos contacted authorities and were reimbursed for $5,700, which included a 5.1% interest calculation, from the Delta Diablo Sanitation District.
Last year, the Contra Costa Times reports, the Ramos family noticed that they had been paying for sewage services even though their property was built on a septic tank back in 1980. “We were shocked,” Irene explained to the Times. “I looked at it and said, ‘What’s all this about.’ You would think we would have paid attention, but we didn’t.”
Gus Kramer, the county assessor, said that these errors happen and that they make sure that amends are made. “Computers and human beings are not infallible,” Kramer said. “It comes down to property owners doing a little homework on their bill.”
Irene and Louis insist that it is a good lesson for everyone to learn. “People have to be astute and be sure to check both online and the hard copies,” Irene Ramos said, according to the Times.
Frequently, Californians pay more in property taxes and charges than they do in annual state income tax. In 2010-11, local governments paid $43 billion in property taxes with 12 billion coming from other charges like sewer services that appear on property tax statements.