Detroit targets businesses' overdue water bills - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Detroit targets businesses' overdue water bills

Posted: Updated:
  • Detroit Water Bill CrisisMore>>

  • Water shutoff protests amid water delivery from Canada

    Water shutoff protests amid water delivery from Canada

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:30 PM EDT2014-07-24 23:30:25 GMT
    Our neighbors across the Detroit River are now getting involved in the Detroit water shutoff debate.
    Our neighbors across the Detroit River are now getting involved in the Detroit water shutoff debate.
  • The two sides of the Detroit water bill crisis

    The two sides of the Detroit water bill crisis

    Thursday, July 24 2014 4:59 PM EDT2014-07-24 20:59:57 GMT
    As the city of Detroit advances through its historic bankruptcy, focus has shifted to the water department's controversial efforts to collect unpaid water bills.
    As the city of Detroit advances through its historic bankruptcy, focus has shifted to the water department's controversial efforts to collect unpaid water bills.
  • Detroit water department checking for illegal hookups amid halted shutoffs

    Detroit water department checking for illegal hookups amid halted shutoffs

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:13 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:13:20 GMT
    Water shutoffs are on hold but not for scofflaws. Over the next two weeks Detroit Water and Sewerage Department contractors will check up on roughly 9,000 homes where the water was shut off for illegal hookups.
    Water shutoffs are on hold but not for scofflaws. Over the next two weeks Detroit Water and Sewerage Department contractors will check up on roughly 9,000 homes where the water was shut off for illegal hookups.
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is putting businesses on notice that it will shut off water service if they don't pay their bills following recent efforts to crack down on residential customers who are in arrears.
 
The department plans to send warning letters this week to about 200 commercial and industrial customers with accounts listed as more than 60 days overdue, including a golf business and a cemetery, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.
 
Active commercial and industrial sites account for about one-third of the $90 million in past-due bills that the department says it is owed. The top 40 on that list, according to the department, have past-due accounts ranging from around $35,000 to more than $430,000.
 
"All we're doing is taking enforcement action to protect the integrity of the system," said Bill Johnson, a department spokesman. "We have not been very aggressive in cutting off water over the years. We admit that. The people will pay their bill when they're forced to pay their bill.
 
"Part of it is our fault. We've never had a strict enforcement policy on paying the bills."
 
The department in March announced plans to crack down on residential customers, leading to thousands of shutoffs and prompting protests from longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Detroit and others who want water service restored to those homes.
 
More than 22,700 accounts in the city are listed as commercial or industrial. The department said they collectively owe $33.8 million.
 
One owner of a Warren real estate group that owes more than $80,000 said the problem with its account stems from a tenant.
 
"The property doesn't have active water on the site -- not even a meter," said Michael Samhat, president of Crown Enterprises Inc. "We're not sure how this bill got generated. Right now, we're working with the tenant trying to help them and we want to work with the city of Detroit water department."
 
The News and the Detroit Free Press reported that the water department has unveiled a $1 million program to help low-income residents pay their water bills. The program is funded by a voluntary program that takes 50 cents from each paying residential customer's bill, along with varying amounts from commercial customers, the department said.
 
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, following a Tuesday news conference, said the delinquent water bills "could have been handled in a far more sensitive way."
 
"We should have had funds for those who genuinely can't pay set up ahead of time," Duggan told reporters. "We should have had more rigorous notices before we saw people turning off water."

  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:43:20 GMT
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
  • Warren grandparents upset after grandchildren see racist graffiti at park

    Warren grandparents upset after grandchildren see racist graffiti at park

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:15:40 GMT
    Tuesday afternoon Bruce and Lubertha Callaway took their grandchildren to Shaw Park in Warren when they saw something they couldn't believe.
    Tuesday afternoon Bruce and Lubertha Callaway took their grandchildren to Shaw Park in Warren when they saw something they couldn't believe.
  • 3-year-old shocked, downed power lines electrify fence

    3-year-old shocked, downed power lines electrify fence

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:51:19 GMT
    A 3-year-old boy is in the hospital after getting shocked by an electrical charge.
    A 3-year-old boy is in the hospital after getting shocked by an electrical charge.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices