Fairland Cuts Off Water In Thirty Five Percent of Homes - KOAM TV 7

Fairland Cuts Off Water In Thirty Five Percent of Homes


Residents in Fairland, Oklahoma are boiling after the town shuts off water to over 185 homes. The City says it started enforcing an ordinance that shuts off water to those over 20 days past due on their bills. But residents say the City did so without any notice.

Betty Drake says she was gone from her home for only 15 minutes to pick up her great grandchild from school when she came home to discover her water had been shut off. With the city offices closing at four, she had no choice but to endure a night with no bathroom, cooking, heat or water to shower her or her great grandchild.

And she wasn't the only one. According to the city of Fairland, more than 185 other families had also been cut off.

"Everybody's upset about it, I mean, wouldn't you be if you come home and you don't know if you're going to have water or not?," Drake said.

Drake says she owed partial amounts on her past two bills, but says she regularly paid in part and it had never been a problem before. On a fixed income, she had the extra $50 dollar charge on top of late fees to have it reconnected. And says she never saw it coming.

"First of all if I would have known they were going to cut it off that day I would have borrowed the money, somewhere to save it being cut off, and save the $50 dollars because the $50 dollars meant a lot to me," Drake said.

But the city says this is nothing new, and that the ordinance was passed back in 2005, and states that if you don't pay your water bill 20 days after it is due, the City may shut off your water, with a $50 dollar reconnection fee attached.

"That's a hard fact in any place and any town, that if you don't pay your bills there's ramifications," said Fairland City Council member Forrest Stoots.

And Stoots says past leniency in the town of Fairland has resulted in over $24,000 dollars of back water bills. A sum he says the City can no longer afford to cover.

"I'm sure they don't mean to be gypping the city out of anything, it's something that if it hasn't been enforced it's easy to over look," Stoots said.

But for Drake, she says the City should be a little more understanding to her and people like her in the town of Fairland. And that a small note on her water bill wasn't enough to warn the 185 families of what was to come.

The City Council says it will discuss the issue again at it's next meeting on the first Thursday in January. It is unclear what, or if any, changes or reimbursements will be made at that time.

To look at the City Ordinance, see a hand written letter from the Mayor of Fairland on the subject, or to see an example of a water bill, click here.

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