At yesterday’s meeting, the Almont Council was due to discuss and potentially vote on turning off the water supply to the Kingsbrook Mobile Home Estates. The owners of the park have a sizeable unpaid balance on their water and sewer bills that’s been accumulating for more than a year. It’s understandable that some village officials are frustrated with the current situation. Kingsbrook management has asked for a break on their overdue fees; gone through the motion of setting up a payment plan only to make one payment before defaulting on that plan and failing to show up for the council’s most recent meeting to discuss new options for resolving the matter.
What’s different here than from most other utility shut offs is the fact that residents of the park who are up to date on their rent, which includes water and sewer fees could still see their service shut off. This just isn’t fair and, as some have already noted, would leave Kingsbrook residents’ homes unfit to live in.
Officials must do what they can to ensure residents have safe places to live. Water is considered a human right by the United Nations and other organizations and it’s easy to see why. We need water to live—to cook, clean, maintain personal hygiene and much more.
We are living in unique times and nearly everyone’s financial situation has been impacted by the pandemic. Kingsbrook representatives claim that they’ve been unable to pay their bill because some residents are behind on their rent. While that may be the case, that shouldn’t preclude them from at least abiding by a monthly payment plan to get caught up.
Turning off the tap for all of the estate’s residents doesn’t guarantee it will encourage its owners to actually pull out their checkbook but it will almost certainly cause a housing emergency for 200-plus people. Undoubtedly that would impact the school district and local businesses as well—two entities that have already weathered their fair share of challenges in the last year.
Although few other solutions seem to exist, we urge the council to consider something other than issuing a shut off notice.