Official: Unpaid water bills in Atlanta total $80 million - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Official: Unpaid water bills in Atlanta total $80 million

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ATLANTA -

Atlanta has more than 180,000 water customers and the highest rates in the country. However, many people are not paying their bills. A political leader says the water department has been so lax in collecting bills that $80 million has gone uncollected.

On Thursday, FOX 5's Morse Diggs reported on a mother of seven whose water was shut off after she amassed a bill of more than $8,000. She's not alone.

Around 23,000 customers are at least 90 days late in paying their bills; 18,700 customers are at least a year delinquent.

City leaders say it's time for the Department of Watershed managers to step up their collecting efforts.

"We've just completed the meter audit, so we know that 96 percent of the meters now are functioning so you know, you can't blame the water disputes anymore or the ambiguous billing. It is a tremendous problem because this is a lot of money that's on the table," said Atlanta City Council Member Michael Bond.

The chief spokesperson for Atlanta's water department did not respond to a request for comment from FOX 5.

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