Flint, MI– With $40 million in uncollected delinquent water bills, Flint’s mayor said the city will be going after non-payers in the new year.
“Moving into the new year, in January of this year, we will go try to collect those dollars especially after those habitual non-payers,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley told the Flint City Council during a special meeting on Dec. 21.
He said habitual non-payers were people who refused to pay their bills within a year period.
“We’re already going after the habitual non-payers in the commercial sector, so we are tracking them down, walking them down,” Neeley said.
The State of Michigan enacted a moratorium on water shutoffs on Dec. 22, 2020, to ensure that people had access to water during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the state’s moratorium expired on March 31, Neeley announced in April that the city would continue holding off on disconnecting homes from water due to lack of payment.
At that time, Neeley said the city would still be “actively pursuing payment and water shutoffs against habitually delinquent commercial water customers.”
During the Dec. 21 meeting, Neeley said that habitual non-payers in residential areas will now also “start to see the blunt of the force of the city coming to collect what is owed.”
He said this move was “definitely to no fault of the public.”
“They had a deficient product for many years,” Neeley said. “So we want to make sure we are testing water, making sure water is clean enough for human consumption … I am proud to say that we are testing at the top of any community inside the state of Michigan.”
Communications will be going out as soon as Jan. 1, to notify individuals about the city pursuing collections, but Neeley did not provide many more details.
“If we do not collect those dollars, it could cause a bigger and larger burden on every customer that is paying into that system,” he said.