It’s rained all day in many parts of our region but there are still some residents in Matoaka who haven’t seen a drop of water since noon today. 59 News spoke with residents of the town and their Mayor about why their water supply is being cut off.
Carla Oakley’s water supply was cut off Monday, and she says she never received a bill so she could pay for the service.
“It’s very frustrating. I don’t have children but I feel sorry for the people who do have children. You can’t take showers, you can’t cook properly, there’s no water to even boil and we don’t know how long it’s going to be off, no one’s told us that,” said Oakley, Matoaka resident.
Oakley is one out of a handful of people living in Matoaka who no longer have running water. She says she has not received paper bills from the town since last April and now the town has cut off her water supply completely.
“Every citizen has a right to drinking water, especially clean drinking water. We’ve been under a boil advisory for months. You have a right to clean drinking water,” Oakley added.
Oakley tells us she was given a notice to pay all past due amounts on Friday, so she went to town hall during business hours to pay the bill, but she says no one was there. However, Matoaka Mayor, Travis Colonna says their office is always open during their hours of operation and the water bills are being sent out.
“Because you say you didn’t get a bill one month doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay your water bill for a year, so they’re upset now because the P.S.C. is not going to be on their side and this is the last chance they have to speak their opportunity,” said Colonna, Matoaka Mayor.
Colonna says about ten percent of their customers have not paid their water bill in several months. But he says all residents have to do to pay their bill is go to their office inside town hall and work out a payment plan.
He says in the past he’s been lenient on the due dates for people’s bills, but now he says their town is in desperate need of the money.
“Matoaka is very small so when we don’t get ten percent of our water bills, we can’t pay our employees, we are losing tons of money. Right now my police officer has been working two weeks without a paycheck so right now we are scrummaging to get any type of bill we can possibly get,” Colonna added.
Colonna says there could be far reaching consequences if the bills remain unpaid.
“It’s frustrating for me because the hardest thing is the good people in this town that pay their bill, the ten percent who do not pay their bill could possibly wreck it if I have to shut down the whole system. For the good people who are paying their bill it could very well happen, we could run out of money. West Virginia doesn’t have a lot of money to help us out, it’s crucial to get the money,” said Colonna.
Colonna says their water will continue to be shut off until their balances are paid.