By Charles Sercombe

“Behind in paying your water bill?

If so, you better get a payment plan in place with the City of Hamtramck. The city is aiming to collect on $1.1 million owed in back water bills, and once warm weather is here, the collection process is going to get aggressive.

According to Mark Ragsdale, the Director of Public Works, water shutoff notices will be going out “as soon as the weather breaks” and those who owe the city money will have 10 days to pay up or enter into a payment plan.

After that, he said, the city will begin to turn off water service.

Ragsdale said there are likely hundreds of residents and commercial building owners who are delinquent. That will require more employees to help with the crackdown.

“The intent is to hire part-time employees to shut off water because we have that many that need to be done,” Ragsdale said.
Or maybe not.

The last time the city began shutting off water service to households, in July of 2013, hundreds of residents rushed to city hall to catch up on their bill.

Since then, the city has switched from a quarterly billing period to a monthly bill. The thinking was it would be less of a financial blow to households to pay monthly instead of every few months.

That method also benefited the city by bringing in a more regular cash flow.

For those who ignore the shut-off notice beware that there is a $50 charge to reconnect the service.

Amazingly, about one-third of those who have their water service cut off illegally turn the service back on by themselves.

“It tends to be squatters who do this,” Ragsdale said.

For those who do that, the city will charge $500 to return service once the delinquent bill is paid.
Do it again?

The city will dig out the water line and charge $2,100 to put a new one in.”

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