Well, the lines have been buried and our vistas are preserved. Hallelujah! Now that we’ve gotten what we wanted, it’s time to ask for the check. But be prepared — like the unscrupulous waiter who slips an extra appetizer or two onto the bill when its delivered to the table, LIPA is billing us for a little more than we bargained for.
When LIPA let us all know it was going to cost $30 million to bury their new transmission cable, rather than the $20 million they were willing to spend on burying only part of it, residents opted to preserve the views and select LIPA customers in Southampton were given the task of taking on the burden of paying LIPA back the extra $10 million based on their electrical usage.
This week, LIPA let us know it was, in fact, about $10 million that will need to be repaid. OK, fine, we agreed to that. We knew what was coming.
But wait, then there’s the “administrative costs” (read: extra appetizer). In this case, it’s not a pupu platter we’re being charged for, but rather the cost of upgrading LIPA’s computerized billing system so it can calculate and add the appropriate surcharge to each customer’s bill to cover the burial of transmission lines. And then take that money from us.
The cost of this upgrade? A cool $1.2 million.
Yes, you read right, $1.2 million — to update the LIPA-owned computer system in order for it to extract from our pockets the agreed upon $10 million. That’s like a restaurant adding a surcharge onto the tab to cover the cost of the new cash register.
Hmmm. Seems a tad excessive to us. We’ve agreed pay for the line, now we have to pay for LIPA to figure out a way to take the money from us. Come on. Give us a break. The MTA payroll tax, LIPA overages, severe financial woes in Southampton Town, decreased mortgage tax revenues, high assessments. This pie has been divided so many times, that we’re scraping the bottom of the plate now. There’s nothing left to give.
Not even a tip.