City threatens water shutoff after Polk County landlord doesn't pay for six years

Posted at 6:54 PM, Oct 24, 2017

A water bill so late, the City of Davenport is forced to shutdown an entire community’s water supply.

If the Spring Lake’s landlord doesn’t come up with a plan to pay the $46,000 bill by November 20, people living there will have to leave.

“It has put myself my wife and everybody else in this complex at risk” 

Paul Sangster and his wife have been living in the mobile home community for years, but Friday was the first day they found out their water bill hasn’t been paid for six years.

45 others families, are now in the same predicament and faced with the decision to move before the water is shut off.

“Why? That’s the only thing I can say to him is why?” Michael Logue, his wife only moved to the community in January.

They claim it’s the only place they can afford right now, as they save up for a vehicle they need to drive to work. 

“As a business person you should not be in a predicament like this when you have people paying rent,” Logue said.

Logue says he hasn’t questioned his landlord, hoping it will sort itself out.

But, the bill is now due in full as soon as possible, or the entire communities water will be shut off.

“None of us can afford to pay for it,” Sangster added.

Community members have been urged to reach out to the county for assistance or turn to Red Cross to find a new place to live.

Sangster said he and few others have made a Go Fund Me page to possibly raise funds to pay off the water bill.

As of Tuesday, no one has enough money to even consider looking for another place to live.

“We don’t know we just don’t know,” Logue said.

The City of Davenport tells ABC Action News, the bill is six years late.

According to records the landlord has been paying towards the amount, but never in full.

Residents partially blame the city for not doing something sooner.

“It’s a little more difficult then just dealing with one owner you have to do a lot of processes, like the notice process, we are working with the health department,” Kelly Callihand, the City Manger for Davenport explained.

Callihan inherited the problem, as he just began his post in July of 2017.

He says the process to cut off water is a long one, especially with a community rather than just one tenant.

“The bill has only gotten worse and worse and worse, so we have to at some point say enough is enough and that’s where we are at,” Callihan said.

ABC Action News confronted the Spring Lake community landlord, but differed us to speak with his wife, Wanda Fribolin.

“We pay the bill monthly, we pay the current amount plus something towards that,” Fribolin said.

If so, the bill we slowly be decreasing, but it has not.

So we asked what they were doing with the money residents were paying in.

“It goes toward the water, towards the mortgage, it goes to electricity and insurance,” Fribolin explained as tears started to well up in her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she says to her tenants. But then quickly turns the plane on those who do not pay their bills.

Fribolin says they work with residents on payment terms, some of them cannot make payments but continue to live in their mobile homes.

“We have paid our rent every month on time, we’ve never been late,” Sangster said, frustrated with those who may not being paying their rent.

“We cannot afford to move,” he added.

The City of Davenport says the only way to keep the water from being shut down on November 20, is if the landlord pays amount due.