MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Some residents in Moss Point are trying to figure out how to come up with the funds to restore their water service.
This comes after the utilities department learned of a $3.4 million deficit and began cracking down on the city's water utilities by cutting off service to those who owe significant amounts of money.
"The bill says deposit of $140 for water, $2,178.40 in fees," Moss Point resident Janet McNease said.
That's the amount of money the City of Moss Point says McNease must pay to get her home's water turned back on.
"She learned there was no water paid for three years, and she was like, 'Wow, what on earth,'" said McNease's daughter, Misty Douglas.
It's a bill McNease said her landlord never mentioned when she moved in in September of 2014.
"I guess she didn't know, or she might have forgot to tell us we had to pay water," McNease said.
During that time, the bill was piling up. In December, the city cut her water off, so McNease went to the utilities department to figure out what was going on.
"They told us we owe that much, and that we have to come up with half of it. We don't have it, and we tried to make an arrangement, and they refused," McNease said.
It's something Douglas, who's had to watch her mom go without water, said doesn't make sense.
"The fact is there are no bills. There are no notices. This came out of thin air, and all they have to do is write that on a piece of paper," Douglas said.
City clerk Stephanie Coleman said the city is working with residents as best they can, but they've had to create a strict policy, which is laid out to prevent the city from losing even more money and adding on to the department's $3.4 million deficit.
"If you're found illegally using water, we allow you to come in and pay half and pay deposit and all that stuff. We will allow you to regain service," Coleman said.
She said the city would work with residents to pay in increment plans until the back dues are paid, and the same thing goes for people with multiple accounts.
For residents like McNease where the landlord may be at fault, Coleman suggests negotiating payment with your renter, who she says should have mentioned the water utilities initially.
Moss Point building officials are now conducting city-wide inspections to make sure people are getting water legally.