Water and Gas Woes

Water and Gas Woes
By: CJ Cassidy

Thebes, IL -The hot weather isn't helping some folks in Thebes deal with water and gas woes.

Leaders shut off utilities to several homes in the Southern Illinois village citing huge back bills.

As you can imagine that's left residents pretty upset.

The Thebes City Clerk tells me the unpaid bills added up to $ 18,000 over the past two years.

Village leaders say they tried to be reasonable with people, but now they're at their wits end and had no choice but to take some action.

Village leaders gave the order to shut off water and gas to one resident's home Tuesday, leaving him hot under the collar.

The man agreed to talk to us as long as we didn't reveal his identity, saying he's never had to go out of his village on the river for water in the thirty years he's lived here.

"I had to use this water to flush the toilet, cook and wash the dishes," he says.

"I've taken a lot of cussings," Village Clerk Patty Osorio says. She's only been in her position two weeks, but she isn't sweating over the leaders' decision .

"If I have to pay my bill because I use water they should be responsible for theirs," Osorio says.

She adds that village leaders tried to help customers the last two years, but new leadership and an ultimatum from the gas company called for some action.

"We did give them a 90 day notice that if they didn't pay up it would be shut off so they had a fair warning," she says.

"We owe back gas bills and we have to pay up. We put a new pump in we have to pay for maintenance on that we have to pay for maintenance on gas we can't pay unless we get paid," Bill McHughs, who's on the Village Board of Trustees explains.

"When they don't pay there's a chance of getting our shut off due to delinquent bill that's owed," Osorio says.

Still not everyone's buying the argument.

"I'm moving this week I'm outta here I'm gone I'm sick and tired of this village," Osorio says.

Village trustees tell me they sent out shut off notices to 25 homes. They had to shut off water and gas to five houses.

They say people can set up payment plans with them, but back payments have to be completely paid off before that can be arranged.