MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point is focusing once again on residents getting water services illegally.
"We still do have quite a few people who have illegal hook ups here in the city," said Mayor Mario King.
It's problem that was first uncovered under the Broomfield administration.
"We are really losing big time," Mayor King.
King said the new board is working to hunt down those stealing utilities from the city.
"We have a list of homes that have water, and they're not being charged for it, there may not be a bill," King said.
He said it's his latest move to take control of the city's finances and be more responsible with tax payer dollars.
"We are a city that needs the funding and the utility department is our largest revenue generator in the city, so we just need people to be accountable," King said.
He said the impact of the illegal hook ups on the city is huge.
"If everyone paid their bill here, the city would be at least 2 to 3 million dollars more profitable," King said.
To regain that revenue, the city will continue the initiative laid out by his predecessor.
"The meter readers are going down to inspect that - once they figure it out they'll relay that message that they have an illegal hook up to code enforcement," King said.
And that could lead to legal action.
"The crime is theft of utilities and once the violator is identified, that person would have charges signed against them," said Moss Point Police Chief Calvin Hutchins.
Once arrested, that misdemeanor charge carries a $500 bond. Mayor King says it's not his goal to lock people up. He says the city is willing to make payment arrangements with anyone who comes forward with an illegal hookup.
Mayor King also said he's been in close contact with the district attorney's office to determine if two utility workers will face charges for fraud and misappropriation allegations within the department. He said he's waiting on the results of an audit.