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Perrette: City of Bogalusa water forgiveness will end in February

Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said that the city of Bogalusa would resume cut-offs and mandatory late fees for its water customers, starting in February.

Previously, the city had been giving leeway because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact. However, she said that it would be “business as usual” again, beginning next month.

Perrette said that are 4,909 customers for water in the city of Bogalusa. As of January, there were 2,585 customers with late fees for the most recent month, and 990 accounts that were considered “delinquent.”

“We have many customers who have not paid their bill since last January,” Perrette said. “You’ve had people who chose not to pay their bill since the pandemic began. There won’t be any arrangements this upcoming month for those who chose not to pay their bill throughout this pandemic.”

Perrette noted that the city typically collects $12,000 a month in late fees from water customers, and has not collected a single late fee since March. That is revenue that is now a shortfall for the city budget.

“I have had people that literally haven’t paid a water bill since Jan. 7, 2020,” she said. “We’re not going to be able to conduct business like that, as a city. We are understanding, but we’re not going to be able to continue to do that.”

Perrette said that city employees are placing door hangers to notify citizens whose accounts are extremely delinquent at this time.