Dispute over Mishawaka utilities bill leaves hundreds of residents worried about services

Dispute over Mishawaka Utilities bill leaves hundreds of residents worried about services

The owners of Village Green Mishawaka Holdings, LLC. claim Mishawaka Utilities overcharged them. They say they're not paying until the city proves the bill is right. In August, they filed a lawsuit against the utility company.

Now, snow isn't the only thing piling up throughout the streets of the mobile home park, trash is, too. The city didn't pick up this past Monday. Many who live on the property, didn't know why.

"When they call and ask why the trash hasn't been picked up, the answer is that we haven't paid our bill," said Heather Moots, the property manager for Village Green.

The nearly 400 people who call Village Green home pay their own electric bill, but the water and trash is included in their rent.

"We just pay it to the office and as far as we know, it's being paid," said Michele Davis, who has lived in the community for over ten years.

Though, officials within Mishawaka Utilities say that bill hasn't been paid since July.

Moots says it would've been taken care of if the utility company charged the property the right amount.

"We just want the bill to be right and then we will get it paid and then there will be no more issues," she said.

They've filed a lawsuit with the utility company and filed an emergency motion with the courts.

"We are at a standstill, right now. We are really waiting to hear from the judge," said Moots.

They're feeling the effects of it. Mishawaka Utilities shut off electricity in the clubhouse, office and other property under Village Green's name. There's no longer trash pick up, and now, many are concerned the water will be next to go.

"The water comes through our community. If Mishawaka chooses to shut it off, then our water comes off, and that means the entire community," Moots said.

Moots admits, many who live in the community are upset.

"You work, you bust your hump all day and finally pay your bills, just for them to shut it off anyways. You can't win," said resident Robert Gamache.

Davis echoed his sentiment.

"I didn't know about it and I wish that they would've at least kept us informed as far as that goes because you need your water," she said.

Others understand why Village Green owners are disputing the charge, but feel like they may be dragged into the crossfire.

"I get what they're trying to do, but we could end up getting screwed over it," said Sophia Gamache.

A Mishawaka Utilities official says they can't talk about future disconnection of Village Green because it's a matter of the court. He did mention that Village Green currently owes more than $350,000 to the city.

Mishawaka Utilities opted our of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission several years ago. The U.R.C. oversees the setting of utility rates for the state and disputes against charges.

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