Officials in municipalities often ponder what to do when people don't pay their utility bills, especially water, sewage, and trash collection.
Understandably many people, during these difficult economic times, have problems making financial ends meet. Utilities, though, must be made a household priority.
Many municipalities are resorting to shutting the water supply to residences when water and sewage bills become delinquent. It sounds like a harsh policy, but it is fair.
For those who don't pay their utility bills, the accumulation of delinquent indebtedness eventually is passed onto those who do make payments. And this isn't fair.
We realize there are situations where water cut-offs aren't possible because of health reasons. In most cases, thugh, shutoffs are done fairly and they do net results.
Municipalities always give ample notice before shutoffs occur. They're willing to work with families who show a willingness to make regular payments.
Collecting any delinquent bills is never easy for governing bodies. Back taxes can take years to collect. Meanwhile, municipalities, school districts, and even the county rely on such collections for fulfilling their budgetary obligations.
Trash collection bills are usually collected by a District Judge when delinquencies occur, but even this can result in low monthly payments and a slow process of the municipality retrieving funds needed to pay its bills.
At least in many municipalities, there is an option for delinquent water and sewer bills – and that is to turn water off to deadbeat residents and businesses.
It sounds cruel. The fact is, this is fair. Paying bills is a fact of life. Some bills cannot be avoided.
Utility bills fit into this category. That's why they have to be prioritized in every household budget.
Most municipalities are struggling to meet their budgets. It's fiscal responsibility for the elected leaders of these municipalities to make sure everybody pays a fair share.
By Ron Gower