Apartment complex pays water bill, dozens still overdue - WNEM TV 5

Apartment complex pays water bill, dozens still overdue

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A Flint apartment complex is no longer in hot water. 

City officials said the owners of Orchard Lane Manor apartment complex made a payment on their utility account late Monday. A payment in the amount of $9,461.50 was sent in and will be deducted from the $65,432.03 balance on their account. 

Now that the payment has been received, city officials said the apartment complex will be removed from the shut off list as long as they pay their required monthly payments. 

Lakeside Apartments and 18 other residences still have not made their payments, though, and are still scheduled to discontinue water services, the city said. Those customers have not made a payment for at least five months straight, the city said in a press release.

"I just can't get anything to get done around here. It's like they don't care about this place," said Randy Jobin, on-site manager at Lakeside Apartments.

He said since he moved in last November he has done everything he can to let the property owners know the once bustling complex is falling apart.

"They ain't been trying to do anything. I've been on them. He's been on them. We've both been on the property manager to get something done here and he just keeps giving us the run around," Jobin said.

He said the tenants have been paying rent each month, which is supposed to take care of their utility bills, but the property owners have not been paying the city.

"Now we gotta figure out what we are gonna do because ain't nobody gonna wanna stay here if they ain't got no water," Jobin said.

The city sent notices to the affected customers telling them payment plus 10 percent of the past due balance was required to avoid shut off. The customers also received a list of resources to help them pay their water bills if they have financial challenges.

“We thank the residential and commercial customers who have complied with the program and are making payments,” said Mayor Karen Weaver. “I understand this is a difficult situation for many people, and we as city leaders are facing some hard decisions as well."

Customers who have not paid the minimum amount of their water bill will receive late charges on their accounts. The accounts with the highest past due balances are placed at the top of the shut off list.

"Residents and commercial account holders who do not make payments, or start working with our non-profit partners, will have their water shut off and then be required to pay 50 percent of the past due balance owed on the account plus shut off and turn on fees to have their water service restored," said David Sabuda, Flint's interim chief financial officer.

The customers who are on the shut off list have a past due balance of $2,500 to $6,000. The city said in most of those cases, the customer has not made a payment in two to three years.

Lakeside Apartments owes more than $50,000, the city said.

"Remember, there are no more credits. The state isn't helping us anymore. We now need to stand up on our own two feet and we're asking everyone to pay their fair share and that's what this is all about," Sabuda said.

Flint residents received a water credit of 65 percent of their bills through Feb. 28 from the state. The credits were retroactive from April 2014, when the city switched water sources causing the Flint water crisis.

The apartment complexes had until Thursday to pay up before their water was shut off. The 18 other customers had until the beginning of April.

Read the full press release from the city of Flint here: 

Representatives of the City of Flint’s Treasury Department are pleased to report that owners of the Orchard Lane Manor apartment complex made a payment on their utility account late Monday. A payment in the amount of $9,461.50 was submitted and will be deducted from the $65, 432.03 outstanding balance on the account. Now that payment has been received, Orchard Lane Manor will be removed from the shut off list and remain off the list provided the required monthly payments are made.

City officials are still scheduled to discontinue water service on Thursday, March 23rd at Lakeside Apartments, and on April 4th for up to 18 residences due to account holders not making payments for at least five months straight. Past due balances on the residential accounts range from $2,500 to $6,000, and in most cases no payment has been made on the account in two to three years. Shut off notices were sent to these customers last week indicating that payment of the current utility bill plus 10% of the past due balance is required or water service would be shut off.  In addition to the notices, residents were also given an information packet with details about agencies and organizations those with severe financial challenges can turn to for help making the minimum payment due.  

Customers with financial hardships who need help paying their water/sewer bill are also urged to call the Customer Service Center at (810) 766-7015, or visit Flint City Hall to discuss payment options with a representative. Tenants who make rental payments that include fees for water services, but have been informed that water at the complex is at risk of shut off may notify the City of Flint Law Department at (810) 766-7146. No legal advice will be provided. 

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