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Newark to turn off the tap to thousands

September 1, 2009 7:21:58 AM PDT
The well is set to run dry for thousands of customers in Newark who are behind in their water bills.The city plans on shutting off water service to more than 5,000 customers who have not paid their bills in more than a year.

Dozens of customers stood in line at Newark's city hall on Monday. They got shut off notices and rushed to pay or negotiate a plan for their bills.

Some couldn't remember when they last paid for water, but collection was not strongly enforced.

Newark's Water Woes

  • The lax enforcement to collect has flooded Newark's Department of Water and Sewer utilities now, drowning in $29 million in outstanding bills.
  • Hundreds of commercial properties, owners and landlords, owe the water company $100,000 or more.
  • 7,000 customers owe at least $1,500.
  • 1,600 are so late they'll wake up to no water on Tuesday.

    Landlord Sam Gonzales owns a deli and building, but told Eyewitness News that he fell behind by $5,000 because his tenants couldn't pay their rent.

    Housing advocates are worried. They fear the action will unfairly penalize innocent tenants.

    The city has posted fliers on the affected properties to warn residents about the shutoffs.


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