Mola Lenghi, NBC 5 Arlington Reporter
People living in 3-Arlington apartment complexes may have their water shut off by Monday. The city says complex owners owe thousands of dollars in unpaid water bills.
In many countries, running water is a luxury. For some people living in Arlington, it may soon be a lost luxury.
“I'm afraid that I'm not going to wake up with no water on Monday,” said Pamela Oakes, a resident at Arlington Park apartments, one of three apartment complexes in east Arlington on the verge of having water shut off by the city.
The three complexes – Arlington Park, Brandon Oaks and Spanish Oaks – have about 900 total units and $77,000 in unpaid city water bills.
“It has been two months since the city has received payment and they've tried to notify – they have notified the owner, they've tried reaching out and working with him to no avail,” said city spokesperson, Rebecca Rodriguez.
Red city notices were posted on tenant’s front doors advising them that their water would be turned off by Monday if the unpaid bill was not settled by 10:00 Monday morning. This came as a surprise to residents who said they have been paying their bills.
“They need to realize that, that water bill they're paying is going to the landlord, it's not coming directly to the city of Arlington,” said Rodriguez. “Residents are unfortunately caught in the middle.”
“Where is that money going?” asked Oakes. Stacey Fielder is a resident at Brandon Oaks. She said, “When I called the office they said the water bill had been paid.”
“When I called the city, after management told me they paid the bill, the city said, ‘no, it definitely hasn't been paid and they've got until Monday,’” said Billie Blize, another Brandon Oaks resident.
Through a property manager, the property owner, who reportedly lives in California, said that he tried to pay the city on Thursday morning but was turned away.
The city verifies that he attempted to make a partial payment using a check but for this sort of payment, the city requires cash or money order.
Property managers say the owner intends to make a money order payment Friday. “I guess we just wait,” said Blize. “What else do you do?”
Whatever they do, residents say it has to include water. “You can't live without water,” stressed Blize.
“I have four boys, I have a husband, I have a disabled child - they need water,” pleaded Oakes. “Everyone needs water.”
Meanwhile, the city needs to be paid or the water will stop flowing, leaving residents high and dry – no water, no options.
“I’ve got [no options] right now but to move. That's the only option people have and you can't find nowhere to move on such short notice,” said Oakes.
The city says they might consider emergency accommodations that could include firefighters opening up nearby fire hydrants where residents could fill up containers.
Rodriguez said the last thing the city wants is for citizens to go without services. “We don't want people to be without water at the same time we cannot allow a delinquent bill of $77,000 to go unpaid.”