WAYNE COUNTY, Tenn. (WHNT) - Just north of the Alabama state line, the city of Collinwood Tennessee is getting serious in collecting delinquent utility bills, saying you will be shut-off if you don`t pay up.
The city says it`s an effort to recoup thousands of dollars in back payments from its customers.
Three-ring binders full of utility bill records for the city of Collinwood’s customers sit on the front counter of city hall for easy access by employees.
In the last two months, city officials found one-hundred and fifty customers who owed fifty-four thousand dollars in back utility bill payments.
And Mayor Glenn Brown said that is making it difficult for the city to continue to operate.
“It makes it hard on us when we have delinquent bills. That means that we are short on money, and we still have to pay our bills,” stated Brown. “So, in order for us to pay our bills, our customers have to pay theirs.”
Along with the city council, Brown decided to get serious about collecting the money owed to the city.
The first term Mayor said it`s nothing personal; Collinwood just needs to get the utility department back in the black for the good of everyone.
“We are not trying to make it hard on any of our citizens in Collinwood, or any of our customers,” said Brown. “It is something that we have got to do, to be able to keep continuing to pay our bills.”
According to Mayor Brown, Wednesday served as the deadline for customers to make arrangements to pay-off the back balance.
Brown explained customers can pay off the balance all at once, or make payments.
However Brown said, “If they miss a month on paying their delinquent bills, then we will cut their water off.”
City leaders say the utility shut-off will also affect their natural gas and curb-side garbage service.
The Collinwood mayor tells WHNT News 19 that several customers have come forward to pay their outstanding debts to the utility department.
But Brown adds, they still have a lot of money to collect and may have to find an outside company to help with that.