85-year-old woman’s water shut off; owes city $1,700 despite paying bills

85-year-old woman’s water shut off, owes city $1,700 despite paying bills

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - An elderly Northeast Jackson woman went without water for three days when her water was shut off because of delinquent payments. Although she has since paid the bill she received, she still owes the water department.

City officials acknowledge that she is one of thousands with delinquent bills but no plan to pay.

“I didn’t know what to do,” said Billie Dye after finding no water running from her taps on April 12.

The 85-year-old was warned that she owed $1,700, but her son Bobby Dye said he filed an appeal April 3 with the city attorney.

Since 2016, Billie has gone months without receiving a water bill, but did make the payments when she did get one.

“I paid the bill, paid it along for the current month each time,” said Dye. “Then, all of a sudden, it starts up again with a zero balance."

It was a long weekend for the widow, whose son and daughter scrambled to bring her water for drinking and other necessities.

“We put the water in the commode,” added Dye. “I’d never done that before, found out how to do it. Don’t want to do it again.”

Water was restored Monday when her son said the payment was made.

But then another problem - the hot water heater ruptured when water was turned back on, flooding the attic and kitchen.

When Dye's water was restored Monday her hot water heater ruptured flooding her attic and kitchen. Source: WLBT
When Dye's water was restored Monday her hot water heater ruptured flooding her attic and kitchen. Source: WLBT

“See, the water came in, woke up this morning it was running down the cabinets,” said Dye’s son, financial planner Bobby Dye.

The 59-year-old has compassion for others in the city who he said can’t afford to pay enormous bills; problems he said were created by the city.

“The City of Jackson needs to own up. They messed it up,” said Bobby Dye. “They got a software program that did not work and now they just guess work on what they were gonna do on the bill, and now they’re not owning up to their mistake and they’re just cutting people off randomly.”

Public Works Director Robert Miller said as of Tuesday Dye’s $1,700 payment had not been made.

An estimated 20,000 water customers have delinquent bills and face the termination of services. Source: WLBT
An estimated 20,000 water customers have delinquent bills and face the termination of services. Source: WLBT

The last payment was March 25, and his department had no record of a filed appeal.

Miller said that there are 20,000 delinquent accounts and the city is notifying customers at a pace of approximately 200-per-day to bring their account current or face shut off for non payment.

The City is offering payment arrangements if the bill is un-affordable.

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