DETROIT – The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending water shutoffs for 15 days to continue public efforts encouraging delinquent account holders to get up-to-date.
Darryl Latimer, the deputy director of the water department, said in bankruptcy court Monday that the 15-day moratorium will give the department time to deal with the bad publicity created by the delinquency crackdown. The department, Latimer said, will also work with local clergy and the Department of Neighborhoods to identify and assist hardship cases.
Latimer said the department has a citywide, aggressive plan to inform residents about shutoffs. He told U.S Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes they will use the next two weeks to word to get out.
He also said the city has seen a significant increase in 60-days past due accounts, citing declining employment, local incomes 15 percent below the national average, and a lack of "rigor" in collections.
Rhodes thanked Latimer for the "thought and effort into your presentation and plan."
Last week, Rhodes criticized the implementation of the water department's collection and shutoff plan.
Detroit Water and Sewerage has an 83 percent collection rate, which has led to tens of millions in annual bad debt for the department.