Atlanta Watershed Department owed millions by delinquent custome - CBS46 News

Atlanta Watershed Department owed millions by delinquent customers

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Delinquent commercial accounts owe the City of Atlanta more than $6-million, according to Watershed management. Starting this week, the city is going after the 275 biggest offenders.

Mohamed Balla, Watershed Interim Deputy Commissioner for Financial Administration, said approximately 1,000 commercial accounts are delinquent. He said the city would target customers who owe more than $50,000 and/or customers who haven't paid their bills in more than a year.

"It's unfair for customers who are paying their bill on time to essentially support the system on their own," said Balla.

Balla said the biggest offender is The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless on Peachtree Street. His records show the non-profit owing more than $400,000.

"There's some question about that amount, but I do not question we owe a large amount," said Anita Beaty, Executive Director of the non-profit. "The city has participated with some of the business community, who we are in litigation with now, to block all our funding."

Watershed records show the organization hasn't paid a single bill in more than four years, yet the city has continued to provide clean water.

"There's a human right to water," said Beaty.

"We have to treat all customers essentially the same," said Balla.

Balla said with more resources now available, Watershed Management will begin enforcing bill collection more strictly. Starting this week, the worst offenders will receive a letter and given 30 days to contact the city and work out a payment plan.

CBS46 asked what would happen if the customers don't pay their bills.

"If they don't, we will terminate service," said Balla.

To check account balance details, make payments or establish a payment plan, customers can call the Watershed Management Customer Service hotline at 404-658-6500. Customers can also pay online at www.atlantawatershed.org using the online WebConnect payment portal. Watershed Management's Customer Care Center at Atlanta City Hall will operate under normal business hours, 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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