Unpaid water bill leaves hundreds without service - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Unpaid water bill leaves hundreds without service

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

One man is behind on a bill leaving hundreds of people with no water.

That's what happened in Carbondale when the owner of a mobile home park was more than $90,000 behind on the water bill.

The city says it had no other choice but to shut off the water to the Cornerstone Village trailer park.

And tenants said they were shocked it happened because they've paid what the owner asked for water and sewage.

The good news is that the water was turned back on Thursday afternoon.  But that could change if they ownership group and the city can't agree on how to pay off the debt.

"It's pretty tough because the kids need water to drink, take a bath, stuff like that," said one tenant who wished not to be identified.

"I'm pretty angry about it because we're paying for water. So why don't we have water?"

The property manager, Tim Coleman, operates out of Savannah, Georgia.

He says he charges tenants $33 a month for water and sewage service, but leaks in the water system on the property have caused monthly water bills to be as high as $16,000 for the property, which is about four times higher than what Coleman would expect.

"We've had problems in the past like busted pipes and stuff like that.  They've shut off the water and put it back on.  But this time, they didn't put it back on," said one tenant.

Coleman says he doesn't want to pass that charge on to his tenants, who are on low incomes.

He also says his company has poured thousands of dollars into repairing the water system to try to fix leaks.

But the city of Carbondale says Coleman's company is responsible for the more than $90,000 of unpaid bills. $25,000 of which was paid today to get the water turned back on.

And tenants say they just don't want to get stuck in this situation again.

"It's tough because they want to go outside and get wet and they keep asking us where's the water, where's the water," said one tenant.  "We have to tell them there's no water because they shut it off. They think we didn't pay the bill but we're like we gave the money to the landlord and stuff. It's kind of hard."

Coleman says he will be in Carbondale next week to hammer out a payment agreement.

If a deal can't be reached, people in Cornerstone Village could have their water turned off again.

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