POPLAR GROVE (WIFR) – There is controversy surrounding a new plan in Poplar Grove aimed at collecting overdue bills. Some homeowners who aren’t paying up, are now being publicly identified.
Some say they feel humiliated, ostracized and flat-out embarrassed. The city recently marked more than 200 curbs with blue paint, about 30 were identified for future repairs, however 170 others are basically warning home-owners their water will be shut off next month, if they don’t pay up.
“I don’t think you should be pointing out people, in this day and age everyone is struggling. I am unemployed but the whole world doesn’t need to know my business around here.
The neighbor wanted to keep his identity private, which is why the blue mark outside his home isn’t sitting well with him.
The city says they didn’t intentionally mean to single people out, instead they wanted to create more efficiency in their public works department by marking homes to find them faster. When it came to shutting off the water in the future, the city says about 10% of the village is late on their bill. Administrators say if homeowners don’t pay their utilities, the city can’t pay its bills either.
“I don't want people to think that just because there is blue on the sidewalk that means someone isn't paying their bill. It could also be from a repair as well,” said Village Administrator, Mark Lynch.
Village leaders say since the blue paint hit the curb, they have had more people paying their bill. We’re told that was not the intention of the blue mark, just the outcome.
The city says eventually all the curbs will be painted in the village for future repairs, so they will not be taken down. People have 50 days to pay their water bill or it will be shut off, so the next shut-off date is July 2nd.
The city says because their local government is so small, they are working on becoming more efficient