December 8, 2016 (FLINT, Mich) — Flint city officials along with Flint police officers were out Thursday posting shut off notices at commercial properties with utility accounts that remain past due. While the majority of commercial property owners have contacted the city to make payments and payment arrangements to help reduce the amount owed on their accounts, unfortunately some have not. City leaders recognize it is imperative to obtain payment from commercial water/sewer account holders 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 revenue needed to cover operating costs.
Numerous attempts have been made to get the owners of two apartment complexes in the city, Ballenger Manor Apartments and Lakeside Apartments, to meet the terms of the Flint Collection Program whereby the property owner pays the balance of the current months bill plus 10 percent of the past due balance. According to information from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, water/sewer fees are included in the rent residents pay at these complexes. However, owners of these properties have not responded to calls from city staff, not made a payment or payment arrangements, and therefore have been placed on the shut off list.
“We appreciate the landlords that have stepped up and made payments on their utility accounts. However, there are still landlords who collect rent but refuse to accept the city’s offer to allow water and sewer service to continue by paying only the current bill and 10 percent of the past due amount – that is wrong,” said Mayor Weaver. “One owner hasn’t paid the City of Flint for utility services since 2015. We do not want to shut off water to anyone’s home and will exhaust every option before doing so, but the city just can’t afford to not be paid for water and sewer services that are being provided.”
City records show the utility account for Lakeside Apartments has a total past due balance of $47,811.78, Ballenger Manor owes $11,912.62.
“We need the property owners to pay their amount due which has been mailed to them several times,” said David Sabuda Flint’s Interim Chief Financial Officer. “Most of the property owners who owe the city have done the right thing and paid the current balance plus 10 percent of the past due balance. But, these owners have ignored their responsibility to the city and also to their tenants.”
Representatives from the Red Cross and United Way plan to visit the complexes next week to speak with residents about assistance available to help with relocation, if necessary. Residents can always call the Customer Service Center at (810) 766-7015 to find out the status of a property’s utility account.
As of Wednesday, December 14, one of the two apartment complexes has made an online payment and has been removed from the shut off list. The city still has not received payment from the owner of Lakeside Apartments which has between 13-17 occupied units. However, the city will not be turning off the water at the complex any time soon (the buildings’ heating system operates off hot water).
Representatives from various agencies including Genesee County United Way, Red Cross and Genesee Health Systems have met with the tenants and are working to assess their individual needs and getting the process started for them to relocate. The city thanks these community partners for their help.