News & Resources

City threatens residents with water shutoff to encourage payment of outstanding debt

Oct 17, 2011 Mike Garretson

The city of York, Pennsylvania, currently has around $30 million in sewer bill debt, and finance commission members are considering drastic measures to collect, the York Dispatch reports. Debt collection service costs have put the city back approximately $11.5 million. City business administrator Michael O'Rourke believes by threatening to shut off delinquent citizens' water, the city can retrieve some of the missing funds to help offset its debt services. "We will be sending out notices that water will be shut off if bills aren't paid," O'Rourke told the news source. "We believe we'll see far less bills sent for collection." Realistically, O'Rourke expects the threat to reel in around $1 million in unpaid sewer bill debt. He notes that the majority of the outstanding debts are from homes that are vacant or belonged to tenants who passed away. The news source reports in a separate article that O'Rourke fears a tight 2012 budget may threaten the pay of the city's blue collar workers, who do maintenance work on city property including sewers.