HARRISON TOWNSHIP (AP) – A Michigan soldier who was charged $100 to have his water service turned back on after he failed to pay the bill on time because he was called to duty this year in Alaska will get reimbursed.

Sgt. Michael Bishop, 47, returned from his assignment in March to find water and sewer workers in front of his home in Macomb County’s Harrison Township disconnecting a transmission line because of the bill, The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reported.

Bishop said had no choice to pay the re-connection fee, since his wife, children and other relatives were at the home.

Bishop’s wife, Yohana, said four of the couple’s five children live at the home. Meanwhile, Bishop’s son from another marriage recently came to reside at Bishop’s house with his own 6-month-old baby. Additionally, Bishop has been caring for ailing family members.

Township officials on Monday agreed to reimburse Bishop’s $100 turn-on fee.

Bishop acknowledged that he has a history of late payments, but said he hopes the township will work more closely with service members having difficulty with bills. He serves as an aircraft mechanic at nearby Selfridge Air National Guard Base, located about 30 miles northeast of Detroit.

“I’m trying to do my job plus help my family and others,” Bishop said.

Ken Verkest, the township supervisor, said policy is to issue a shut-off notice when utility customers don’t pay bills and don’t respond to follow-up notices. He said he lacked the authority to waive the $100 fee, but encouraged Bishop to ask the township board for a review.

“People were living at the home and no one responded to the notices,” Verkest said. “We could have held off had we known what was going on.”

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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