MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point is cracking down on hundreds of residents who are behind on their utility bills. Friday, Mayor Mario King announced on Facebook that the city disconnected more than 200 customers this week alone because they've failed to pay their bills, despite numerous requests.
King said the crackdown shouldn’t be a surprise because the city has been working for years to get the tax delinquencies and water service delinquencies under control. “People were very informed,” the mayor told WLOX News.
Since April 1, the city has disconnected service to 372 customers.
In 2018, the Moss Point Board of Aldermen voted to increase utility rates to help raise revenue, but there still hundreds of people not paying water bills.
“We’ve been aggressive about collections and illegal hookups,” King said. “We brought in the same company Gautier uses to collect utilities and they’ve been going out an looking for illegal hook ups. When illegal hooks ups are discovered, police are called and the people are charged with theft and they have to go through the judicial process.”
King said the city has found more than 1,000 illegal hookups. Those include situations where people turn on their own water, have an illegal tap, or run water from another line, like a neighbor or nearby business or line.
Mayor King said delinquent bills have ranged from $200 to $500 and up. There was even an apartment owner who owed $36,000.
“I’m sensitive and want to work with them. But at the end of the day, we want them to pay their bills.”