By: Diane Benjamin
While waiting for Bloomington to comply with yet another FOIA on water bills I stumbled across this story: https://blnnews.com/2021/06/29/free-free-free-bloomington/
The Finance Director is on video detailing in June of 2021 how many water bills were more than 60 days past due. He also detailed how many were past due pre-COVID. Magically when people were sent a shut-off notice a large number forked over the money to keep the water on.
The emergency ordinance stopping water shutoffs was passed in March of 2020 – Tari Renner was still mayor. 5 of the aldermen who passed that ordinance are not on the Council now: Mathy, Painter, Carrillo, Black, Bray. Boelen, Mwilambwe, Crabill, and Emig are still around.
Scott Rathbun’s report showed past due water bills were huge in June of 2021:
Past Due grew by almost 1000 accounts during the moratorium. Remember many weren’t 60 days past due, they were over a year old. The water was never shut off, so the bills continued to mount.
The eviction moratorium didn’t end until October of 2021. The squatters who didn’t pay rent or their water bills had freebies from March of 2020 until at least October of 2021.
Think they cared about conserving water they didn’t have to pay for?
When the emergency order was ended in June of 2021 at least $1,000,000 was because the City Council passed an ordinance saying people didn’t have to pay. I’m sure the amount is a lot higher now with late fees and penalties plus people who continued not to pay until the water was shut off or they were evicted.
This is the low estimate that can be used to benchmark future Council action – like fixing what they broke by cancelling the debt they transferred to landlords.