Fulton jail tops list of unpaid water bills totaling in the millions

by: John Bachman Updated:

The Majestic Park Apartments, which used to be The Park at Lakewood Apartments, last paid a water bill in June 2010 and owes the city $1.6 million.

ATLANTA - The city of Atlanta is cracking down on years of unpaid water bills totaling millions of dollars. Some of the city's biggest offenders include apartment complexes, a hotel and even a county jail.

"We just got hot water two days ago. Three weeks without hot water," said Kesha, a resident at the Majestic Park apartment complex in southwest Atlanta. She asked that we not use her last name.

Channel 2's John Bachman learned it could get worse, because the city of Atlanta could shut off the water completely.

"You, I assume, don't want that to happen?" Bachman asked resident Chris Green.

"Exactly. That's not going to be good because we got kids," Green said.

Leaders at Atlanta's Watershed Management don't want to do that either, but they said Majestic Park Apartments, which used to be The Park at Lakewood Apartments, last paid a water bill in June 2010 and owes the city $1.6 million.

"They're not doing what they're supposed to be doing. They're trying to come shut 'em down. That's what they need to do," Green said.

Bachman went to the management office for some answers. The woman in the office told him the owner said she couldn't talk about it and asked Bachman to leave.

"If we have people who feel they're above that, or for whatever reason aren't paying their bills, I think people in the city should be incensed over that," said Mike Geisler, deputy commissioner of Atlanta Watershed Management.

It isn't just apartment complexes. The Fulton County Jail is at the top of the list of worst offenders with $1.7 million owed to the city.

According to Geisler, the top 39 delinquent accounts owe the city more than $18 million. The city is aggressively targeting them.

Meanwhile, Green said his landlord should have the same rules he does.

"They move us in, take our rent, keep taking your rent. You don't pay the rent, you gotta go," Green said.

The city is putting liens on some of the properties. Leaders said they are also working out payment plans. They say shutting off water is a last resort.

In the last month, the city said it's collected $2 million from delinquent accounts.

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