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Mishawaka neighborhood faces threat of no water

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Neighbors living in a Mishawaka mobile home community could lose water service if property owners don’t pay a water and sewer bill by April.

On a Friday afternoon, Joan Smith is busy cleaning. She washes dishes while her daughter Sherry Garrison recovers from surgery.

For two years they’ve lived together at a home in the Village Green Mobile Home Community. They know all about the ongoing lawsuit between the property owners of their neighborhood and Mishawaka Utilities.

“I was dumbfounded. I was like what the heck?” said Garrison.

Village Green sued Mishawaka Utilities in August 2017. The housing company asked for an accounting of its utility services and claimed the city charged too much. Geoff Spiess, the corporation counsel for the city of Mishawaka, said the city did that.

According to court documents, Village Green Mishawaka Holding, LLC and Mishawaka Utilities made an agreement in October 2017. The agreement provided that Mishawaka Utilities would forgoe any utility shut off up to and including January 1, 2018 in exchange for the Village Green posting an additional $170,000 in corporate surety.

No money was paid by January 1, 2018.

On January 26, 2018, Village Green filed a motion, asking Mishawaka Utilities not to turn off electric or water services, or discontinue trash services. There was a hearing on February 8, 2018. A judge denied the motion.

Almost one month later, on March 1, 2018, Village Green appealed the judge’s decision. Village Green filed another motion, asking Mishawaka Utilities to turn the electric in the office back on and not discontinue any other services.

On March 8, 2018 a judge denied the motion again.

Mishawaka Utilities cut off trash services on March  5.

Friday, residents received a letter from Mishawaka that said water services will shut off if Village Green doesn’t pay a $236,086.75 water and sewer bill by April 12.

“That’s not good because we pay to live here,” said Garrison.

“Why are we paying you guys if you’re not paying your bill?” said Jalloyd Porter.  

The Village Green property manager said the housing community understands the concerns. She said beginning this Monday, Village Green will be picking up residents’ trash.

“They’re trying to get this resolved,” said Moots. “The city nor the owner really want this to happen”

But residents are frustrated and scared over the possibility.

“To hear that my water is going to be shut off in less than a month, how does that make me feel?” said Porter.

“We pay to live here,” said Garrison. “We pay our stuff to them or we’re gonna get kicked out. That’s not right. They need to do something.”

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