updated 11/18/2008 10:49:35 AM ET 2008-11-18T15:49:35

A 74-year-old blind woman was shocked when her daughter found a letter from the city saying a lien would be placed on her home unless she paid an overdue water bill.

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The amount? 1 cent.

Eileen Wilbur told The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro the letter sent her blood pressure soaring, and pointed out that stamps cost 42 cents.

City Collector Debora Marcoccio said the letter was among 2,000 sent out. A computer automatically prints letters for accounts with an overdue balance, and they are not reviewed by staff before being mailed, she said.

The letter warned of a lien and a $48 penalty if the overdue bill is not paid by Dec. 10. The charge was from the previous fiscal year, which ran from July 2007 to July 2008.

"My question is, how come it wasn't paid when the (original) bills went out?" Marcoccio said.

Wilbur's daughter, Rose Brederson, who discovered the bill in her mother's mail, called the situation "ridiculous." But she said her mother, who has lived in the home since 1959, would likely end up paying the penny.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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