November 11, 2016 (FLINT, Mich) —Flint police officers will be out Friday to accompany other city employees as they post shut off notices on commercial properties with past due utility accounts. While a number of commercial property owners have contacted the city to make payments and payment arrangements to help get their accounts out of the red unfortunately, others have not. Over the past few months, city officials have increased efforts to obtain payment on commercial water/sewer accounts with high outstanding balances in order to comply with a state requirement to maintain water credits being provided as part of the Water Relief program and to ensure the city receives the revenue needed to cover operating costs.
Some of the past due commercial utility accounts belong to owners of apartment complexes in Flint. The City has been informed that in some cases the owners have been collecting rent, which includes utility fees, but they have not been paying the City for the water/sewer services used.
“What these landlords are doing is wrong,” said Mayor Weaver. “Some owners haven’t paid the City of Flint for utility services since 2015. We do not want to shut off water to any place people call home and will exhaust every option we can before doing so, but the city can’t afford to not be paid for water and sewer services being provided any longer.”
Shut off “notices” are being posted at a number of locations in Flint including Averill Apartments, Orchard Lane Apartments. We are pleased to report that late Thursday the City received a payment in the amount of $11, 150 from the owner of Richfield Court Apartments and $5,100 from the owner of Genesee Forest Mobile Home Park. Late Friday morning, owners of Bervean Apartments submitted a payment of $4,009. These properties have been removed from the shut off list and the water credits to these utility accounts have been restored.
“We thank the property owners who have stepped up and paid,” said David Sabuda Flint’s Interim Chief Financial Officer. “Now we need the rest of the property owners who owe the City to also do the right thing and pay the current balance plus 10 percent of the past due balance and continue to make these payments until the balance is paid in full.”
A property owner near Averill Apartments said he has offered residents currently living at the complex help with moving expenses along with gift cards should they need to relocate. Representatives from the Red Cross and United Way will also be out next week speaking to residents about assistance available to help with relocation if necessary.
City officials have learned that some property owners have been providing false information to residents about the status of the utility account for the property, telling them the account is not past due when it actually is. Residents can always call the Customer Service Center at (810) 766-7015 to find out the status of a property’s utility account.
In order for residential customers to continue receiving a 65% credit on the water charges of their utility account and commercial customers with a 20% credit, the State of Michigan requires the City to have a 70% collection rate on water/sewer bills. For the credits to stay in place, the City must show that customers are paying their bills as required by the state.
*Update: Hallwood Plaza submitted a payment of $5,638.69 11/16/16 and has been removed from the shut off list.