Aug 31, 2011 11:22 PM by Maddie Garrett
Ville Platte residents could lose water and gas utilities September 1, 2011, as part of the city's crack down on delinquent bills. And the mayor said it's a problem that's been going on for years.
After several audits, and thousands of dollars lost, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said it's time for residents to either pay up, or lose utilities.
"We have people who have been on the books for two, three years that have not paid a utility bill and that they were still current," said Vidrine.
And the total amount the city has lost adds up to roughly half a million dollars.
"And that is money the city could be using to improve services," said Vidrine.
Even though the mayor said residents were notified by letter and in their bills that service would be shut off by September 1st, some residents said that's too harsh.
"They want to cut people off, changing the date of payments and all that and they're hurting the little people," said Arthur Sampson, Evangeline Parish NAACP President.
But the audit clearly states delinquent bills are in violation of the utility bond, and must be corrected immediately.
"Maybe some people are angry because it has gone on for so long and it has happened and they haven't been shut off. We're not trying to be mean or insensitive or unsympathetic, we're just we have to obey the law," explained Vidrine.
Vidrine said she's not sure how so many bills went unpaid for so long. But she said the city is willing to work with residents who owe money.