Elmira Water Board dealing with increase in unpaid bills due to eviction moratorium

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — Earlier this month, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a new moratorium on COVID-related residential and commercial evictions into law. Now, the Elmira Water Board is dealing with a by-product of the moratorium.

The new eviction moratorium is effective through January 15, 2021. However, the Elmira Water Board has been dealing with an increase in unpaid bills since the pandemic started.

Mark LaDouce, General Manager for the Elmira Water Board, said one issue is that landlords are not getting paid.

“Some of them that would pay the utilities or whatever, aren’t doing that,” said LaDouce. “We have 800 accounts that represented $100,000 in bills that weren’t paid, which can ultimately affect our operations.”

LaDouce said most of that $100,000 will be collected. However, if the moratorium is extended again, it could cause more issues.

“[The moratorium] could ultimately affect some operations if this gets extended,” said LaDouce. “They do need some help. There is help available through a number of avenues. We don’t administer the money that the state makes available for paying back rent and back bills. The tenant or landlord would have to look into that, but a lot of people were hurting as a result of the pandemic.”

While LaDouce knows other people are dealing with various problems that may inhibit their ability to pay, he is worried about his business as well.

“We still have to pay our utility bills for pumping water,” said LaDouce. “We have to pay the chemical suppliers. People come to work here and I have to pay them. Nothing’s free.”

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