Memphis City Council Considers Individual Meters For Apartments After Water Shutoffs

(Memphis) There is a public safety hazard in the city of Memphis as people who depend on water can have the spout turned off at any moment, even if they’ve paid their bill.

That’s according to one city councilman who is introducing a plan to stop the problem.

Right now in Memphis, 88,000 people live in apartments, and neighbors share the cost of water based on one meter.

But if a new ordinance passes, new apartment buildings will give each apartment its own meter.

“It makes it easier to put everything on a master meter, but why do that? Why lump all these residents together when the face the possibility of having their water turned off even if they pay their bill,” said Councilman Myron Lowery.

Lowery says that’s been the case at least three times in the past few months because the land lord isn’t paying the bill, and the resident’s take the hit.

The ordinance would protect people like the tenants at the Graceland Manor apartments who had their water shut off the entire Thanksgiving holiday.

According to MLGW, water to the complex was turned off after the landlord failed to pay the $5,551 water bill.

This created problems for people like Lynn Scruggs who wasn’t getting any water even though she paid for it because of the landlord.

“We just wash up. We aren’t bathing. She just took our money and isn’t doing right,” said Scruggs.

Lowery says he isn’t worried about a possible increase of cost to put each additional meter in, because he believes it will save residents money in the long run and give them more control over their own water use.

“Right now there are apartment complexes in the city of Memphis that have water leaks. The owners will not fix the water leaks so they are increasing the rent from the tenants to pay for the leaks,” said Lowery.

Lowery says the city is brainstorming how to fix the problem in the apartments already constructed, but so far it looks like new ordinance would change apartments being constructed.

Lowery’s water meter ordinance will be introduced in Council committee tomorrow and must be approved three times after that before it becomes official.