DETROIT (WWJ) – They lined up by the dozens in the rain at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department after about 3,000 customers reportedly were slapped with shutoff notices for past-due bills.
The queue stretched out the door when the office on Grand River near Greenfield opened Tuesday at 8 a.m. Distributed door tags warned people had one week to pay or risk losing service.
Among those in line was Detroit resident Marcus Jones who said the whole thing’s “a shame.”
“Water’s a necessity,” he told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “You can’t take medicine…without it, you can’t cook without it, you can’t take a bath without it, you can’t do anything without it. Why’s it costing us to pay so much?”
Brittney Ayers, who lives on Detroit’s west side, got a shutoff notice. But, she says, it’s not her fault.
“I just moved there, so obviously it’s a past due balance. Not from me! From the previous person,” she said. “I promise! I have a credit with the water company.”
Detroiter Marcus Jones became suspicious when he found out that the new Great Lakes Regional Water Authority would be coming in in January to work with the city.
“You know what? It’s like an old shell game,” Jones said. “Everybody wants to play hide and find the money with the shell game. This ain’t Price is Right!”
The city of Detroit will remain in charge of collecting on delinquent water bills.
After bad publicity and protests over shutoffs, Detroit last year announced payment plans and other ways for poor residents to maintain service. Officials are reminding customers that there are programs available for those who are struggling to pay.