Woodside Condominiums tenants in limbo as property grapples with $136,000 water bill

Published: Sep. 10, 2019 at 5:09 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2019 at 5:10 AM CDT
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CENTER POINT, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham Water Works turned the water back on Monday afternoon at Woodside Condominiums in Center Point pending payment.

Woodside Condominiums treasurer Ethel Sizemore is working out a payment plan on a more than $130,000 bill.

Residents had been without water since Wednesday.

The city posted yellow signs throughout the complex Monday afternoon urging residents to move out citing a violation of the cities plumbing code.

Center Point Mayor Tom Henderson said the complex was no longer habitable due to lack of running water for more than three days.

The water was shut off because of a delinquent bill of $136,388.92, according to Sizemore.

" I can’t pay the bill," said Sizemore.

An employee and landlord for more than six years, Sizemore claimed other landlords refused to pay $285 per unit in monthly HOA fees. Sizemore said the money tenants pay in rent, which includes water, never makes it to her desk. The last time they paid the water bill, according to Sizemore, was in May.

WBRC contacted Birmingham Waterworks for comment, a representative said, “Information about any of our customers’ accounts is confidential.”

Sizemore said a Birmingham Waterworks representative called her to make a payment plan and get the water reconnected.

“They’re turning the water on. I have done a miracle for Woodside,” said Sizemore.

As for the payment plan, Sizemore said the complex had to pay BWW $75,000 by Friday and the balance the week after.

People in the area began donated water to help residents unable to find better accommodations.

“Y’all need some water” said Senara Holden of Pinson.

Holden said she couldn’t stand by and watch her neighbors go without.

“It’s not even logical to be living without water,” said Holden.

People have been using bottled water to flush toilets, bathe and cook.

Derick Douglass, a resident of four years, helped stack water into his neighbors’ cars.

“This is a hurtful situation,” said Douglass.

Although the water had been turned back on, Douglass was not hopeful.

"For how long [will the water be on]? [Birmingham Waterworks] is cutting it on now because [BWW] is getting all of this publicity, that [BWW] really don’t (sic) want. So, {BWW] cut it on to satisfy people for the moment but what about next week cut? What about next month?” said Douglass.

Sizemore said she was not sure how she was going to come up with the money to cover the growing bill.

Tenants said they were seeking legal advise and looking for new housing.

Mayor Henderson said the city had no liability because the units are privately owned. However, he did say the city would help as much as they legally could.

The complex scheduled a community meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the complex rental office.

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