Water moratorium ends, shutoffs to resume

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The moratorium is over and the city of Detroit will again be shutting off the water for customers who are behind on their bills. 

The resumption of shutoffs comes as the frustration level increased for some as the length of the line grew outside the Water Board Building on Monday.

Yesterday marked the last day of the city of Detroit's moratorium on water shut-offs and it proved to be a long day for Souandrea Hardwick. She arrived at 9:30 a.m. with three kids in tow. Three hours later, 20 people were still in line ahead of her.

“My bill’s $360.00, $36.00 dollars is what I have to pay. I’ve been down here, I should be getting reimbursed for my time spent and me and my children are suffering," she said.

The line extended out the door of the downtown service center and also the location on the east side when 7 Action News drove my Monday afternoon.  City officials said 1,300 people made payment arrangements or paid their bill during the Cobo Water Fair, held on Saturday.  Thousands more had already taken steps to pay their bills after the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department began shutting off water to residents in March.

Water shutoffs will now resume for people who had not made arrangements to pay bills that are overdue. Late Monday, the city announced that more than half of the shutoffs scheduled for Tuesday had been canceled because residents either paid their bill or entered into a payment program.

Still, officials said they would continue to work with customers to provide assistance, where necessary.

“The Detroit Water Fund will remain a resource for our customers who may be facing shutoff, who may be having a hard time getting on top of their bill," said Alexis Wiley, chief of staff to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.  "We want them to know that they can still come in and apply for that even after the moratorium’s over.”

The moratorium ended at 6 p.m. Monday.  Those in line at closing time were given vouchers but payment arrangements must be made by Thursday, officials said.

While some people were unable to pay their bills, others procrastinated without taking the necessary steps to get current with their payment. That included Evelyn Sherman, who brought a chair and a large drink with her to be comfortable while waiting in line.

“When you put yourself in a predicament, then it’s up to you to get yourself out of that predicament," Sherman said. 

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