Erie County Legislator Gregory D. Olma, D-Buffalo, charged Wednesday that his Republican opponent, Sloan Mayor Kenneth A. Pokorski, runs a village that can't even pay its utility bills on time.
Pokorski said the village has been trying to straighten out billing problems with New York State Electric & Gas for months. He added the village is working toward forming its own electric company to cut bills for villagers, "but of course neither NYSEG, an investor-owned utility, or Olma wants to see that."
Sloan already has its own natural gas utility, Pokorski said.
Late charges paid to New York State Electric & Gas have cost the village $878 extra this year as Sloan fell almost $16,000 behind in its payments on nine different accounts, Olma said.
"Hard-earned dollars of taxpayers are entrusted to the government to pay for services like electric and gas. Village officials have not proven their accountability when it comes to financial matters," Olma declared.
The electric bills in question are for village properties such as the highway garage, Sloan Park, street lights and the Piekarski Center, Olma said. Olma produced copies of bills showing late charges totaling $878 and the village $15,875 in arrears as recently as late August and early September.
Sloan Clerk-Treasurer Christine Dodds denied the village is behind on any of the nine accounts with New York State Electric & Gas.
A check with the utility company Wednesday verified Ms. Dodds' report, noting receipt of payments on nine accounts totaling $21,721 between Aug. 30 and Sept. 7.
However, one payment of $17,439 on Sept. 1 included $13,017 previously owed. Another account had fallen $2,113 behind in late August before it, too, was paid, according to New York State Electric & Gas.
New billings for Sloan totaling $5,669 are due beginning Monday through Oct. 4, the company said.
Ms. Dodds said she makes the payments on time and that the late charges were the company's fault.
Pokorski called the issue "a normal campaign tactic for Olma: misinformation, disinformation."
"Our bills are paid," the mayor said. "But we're like anyone else; if a bill comes in that's wrong, too high, or is sent to the wrong address, we're not going to pay it until we get it resolved. We've been in negotiations with NYSEG about it for months. We just don't give the village's money away because someone sends us a bill, not if it's questionable."