Jackson's Public Works Department cracks down on delinquent acco - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson's public works department cracks down on delinquent accounts

Jackson's Public Works Department cracks down on delinquent accounts

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Jackson city leaders are trying to balance a budget deficit and they are considering a water shut-off strategy for people not paying their water bills.

Thursday, members of Jackson City Council's finance department and other city administrators discussed ways to cut roughly $3 million in order to balance the city's budget. The city also plans to continue Friday furloughs for most employees every five weeks.

"If we looked at a targeted goal, this is what this department needs," said Councilman De'Keither Stamps. "At one point the Public Works Department had 600 employees, now it has 300 and you wonder why our maintenance levels have gone down,"

Council President Melvin Priester, Jr. says Public Works provided information Thursday that shows they could be more than 18 million dollars in debt by the end of September. The reason is collections have fallen off.

"People are supposed to pay their water bills, and if people aren't paying, they're suppose to get their water shut off just like Entergy and the phone company," said Priester. "I think what's going on is that we've had all of these problems and this has been a slow-moving train wreck." 

Another culprit is people have not been receiving their water bills. 

"It certainly appears to me that the primary thing we have to focus on is getting our billing up to speed with the service we are providing, said Councilman Ashby Foote. "So people are getting it. It's just a matter of making sure that everyone pays their fair share." 

The Public Works Department plans to implement a water shut off strategy for residents who haven't paid their bill in more than 30 days.

"The only thing that prompts a person to pay is knowing that their water is about to get cut off," said Gus McCoy, Jackson's Chief Administrative Officer. 

Public Works officials are waiting on the city to authorize the department use of special software to shut off delinquent accounts. This could happen around July 11. 

"You can be put on a payment plan once you get a bill, to get caught up," added Priester. "So we re going to be looking at this very carefully to make sure this is done fairly and consistently." 

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