Detroit Water Dept. cuts deals, forgives debt - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Detroit Water Dept. cuts deals, forgives debt

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) - Hundreds of people turned out at the Detroit Water Deptartment's Eastside Service Center Saturday to work out payment plans to avoid water shutoffs and in some cases get their water turned back on. The city is even forgiving some debt.

Click on the video player to watch Robin Schwartz's report.

The center on McNichols was open all day Saturday. Donell Foster was among about 400 people who showed up to make a deal. The city is accepting ten percent down if people agree to a payment plan to get their outstanding bills paid off.

"They set up a payment plan, a very reasonable rate," Foster told Fox 2. "My service will be turned back on within 48 hours."

The controversial water shutoffs remain on hold until Monday. In all, more than 7,000 customers who were behind in their bills were cut off. The city is owed about $90 million, but now some of the debt is being overlooked.

"We're trying to be as flexible as possible with our customers," said Darryl Latimer, Deputy Director of the Detroit Water & Sewerage Dept. "In some of these cases with some of the larger bills we are doing some forgiveness of the late payments in terms of the late fees associated with that."

Latimer says the goal is to avoid having anymore shutoffs, that's why the affordability fair was held. As we've reported, several protests have taken place and lawsuits have been filed as part of Detroit's bankruptcy case asking the judge to stop future water shutoffs. The city says more than half of its residential customers are 60 days late or $150 behind in their bills. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has turned control of the Water Dept. over to Mayor Mike Duggan. Future water affordability fairs are being considered in different locations. Stay with Fox 2 and myfoxdetroit.com for continuing coverage.

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