ATLANTA - Officials briefly shut off the water to an Atlanta apartment complex Monday because the owners owe hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The company that owns this complex bought it in April of last year. They said that when they made the purchase, they had no idea that there was a watershed bill of around $480,000.
“I got up this morning, there was no water,” resident Stephanie Long said.
Long says she has paid her bill at the Sierra Ridge Apartments in northwest Atlanta for the last three years, part of the $575 a month was supposed to be to pay for water.
“Kids got school tomorrow,” Long said. “We're not able to bathe, cook, clean.”
Atlanta watershed workers shut off water to the complex around 9 a.m., saying the complex owed almost $700,000 in back water bills. Tenants have paid the complex, owners haven't paid the city.
The owners sent Channel 2’s Lori Wilson a statement today saying, "We are pleased that the City of Atlanta restored water service just a short while ago. It is extremely unfortunate and unfair to the residents of Sierra Ridge who have suffered, especially since the past due balance at issue is the result of fraudulent activity by the past owners of Sierra Ridge and questionable billing practices by the City. The living conditions of our residents at Sierra Ridge is our foremost concern and we have been working diligently and fairly for over a year to resolve this matter from the moment we learned of it. Until just a few days ago, we felt we were working together with the city to resolve this and other issues. It is our intention to continue with our plans of improving this apartment complex, and collaborating with others to improve the entire surrounding neighborhood as well. We sincerely hope that the City will work with us – and not against our residents – to find a solution which benefits everyone involved."
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"You got sick people up here, you got little kids that are going to pee the bed that can't get up and take a quick bath, you got school that starts tomorrow," resident Amanda Parker said.
Monday afternoon, former councilman Derrick Boazman and mayoral hopeful senator Vincent Fort want to get the attention of Atlanta City Hall to ask why water was turned off at the apartments, but not for rich predominately majority businesses that are also behind with their water payments.
“We're still working through that right now,” said Mohamed Balla, the Deputy Commissioner of The Office Of Financial Administration for Atlanta Watershed Management. “That situation was a different set of circumstances.”
City officials say the water was turned back on in the affected area around 1:00 p.m. Monday.
Wilson got a statement from watershed officials saying they have given the owners of a company called Addison Hasid a chance to pay the debt.
City officials say the water will be on for two weeks as they try to resolve the issue. In the meantime, they're hoping residents use that time to find other housing.
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