Clerk quits amid flap over water bills Union Bridge employee estimated charges for years

November 15, 1995|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Union Bridge officials announced the resignation of the town's clerk-treasurer yesterday, six weeks after learning that she had sent estimated bills to water customers whose meters were broken, in some cases for years.

Town Council members have begun going over records of the town's 300 water customers. They have pledged to work out individual agreements that could involve credits to customers whose current usage indicates they may have been overcharged in the past. Customers who may have been undercharged on estimated bills will not be asked to repay the difference.

Rumors that Kathleen D. Kreimer would not continue in the job she had held since 1978 began circulating last week. She began a leave of absence Oct. 15.

State police concluded late last week, after receiving a report on Union Bridge's water billing practices from the town's auditors, that no criminal investigation was warranted Police asked for the information after receiving complaints that criminal activity could be involved, said Tfc. John N. Reininger.

Town Council members met privately last week to discuss Mrs. Kreimer's status. In a statement yesterday, the council said Ms. Kreimer participated briefly in the meeting and that although the council didn't resolve anything during the session, "she indicated shortly after the meeting that she wanted to consider submitting her resignation."

Mrs. Kreimer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The auditors for the town, Musselman and Creager of Gettysburg, Pa., said in the report for warded to the state police that, "based on the amounts billed, which involved both actual and estimated usage, all monies collected were properly reported and accounted for within the accounting records." The auditors said they didn't try to check the accuracy of the estimates.

Councilman Selby M. Black, who oversees the town's water system, said Union Bridge has, "a lot of wounds we have to heal up."

Mr. Black said he didn't see a need to change water billing procedures but that he plans to be more directly involved and to try to restore residents' confidence.

Mrs. Kreimer read water meters for her husband, Joe Kreimer, pTC who had a contract to operate the town water system for 20 years. She recorded broken meters in her log book, and, as town clerk, sent estimated bills to those customers. One meter remained stuck for 14 years.

The council ended Mr. Kreimer's contract in March and hired a water plant operator. The stuck meters came to light after he began reading meters.

Mayor Perry L. Jones said Mrs. Kreimer had been "like a right hand to me. If you needed assistance, she was always there."

Mr. Jones said Mrs. Kreimer has mentioned that she would like to resign and care for her two grandchildren while her son and daughter in-law are at work.

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