By Bejay Browne
WATER supply to homes and businesses in Peyia which have outstanding bills will be cut this week, the municipality said yesterday.
According to Peyia councilor, Linda Leblanc, thousands of euros in unpaid water bills is still owed to the cash-strapped municipality.
“The accounts director confirmed last week that from this week water supply to those who have not paid their bills, will be cut off.,” she said.
“Everyone who owed money was sent a letter and given time to pay. This isn’t the first time that such a move has been taken; usually when their supply is stopped, people come into pay their bills.”
Leblanc said even a number of municipality employees were recently found to have outstanding water bills.
“This is totally unacceptable,” she said.
Leblanc admitted that Peyia municipality used to take into consideration all sorts of extenuating circumstances regarding non-payment of bills.
“For example, economic problems facing a family were considered, as the municipality wanted to help,” she said adding that this position has now changed.
“Due to the economic problems facing the municipality, we can no longer afford to be lenient,” she said. “We have to get tough and there are some long standing debts, a couple of which total several thousand euros,” she said.
According to Leblanc, Peyia council recently voted unanimously to increase water rates by 50 per cent. This means that residential properties will see the standing cost increase from 15 to 20 euros every quarter. In addition, the tariff for 1-30 cubic metres will double from 20 euro cents to 40 euro cents.
There will also be smaller increases for the other bands.
“Even with these increases- the water supply in Peyia is still one of the cheapest on the island,” said Leblanc.
But Peyia municipality is also facing an outstanding water bill of its own, of more than €500,000.
“It’s correct that the municipality owes over half a million to the water department. As yet, we don’t have a payment plan but I’m sure one will be on the way soon,” Leblanc said.
“This is the case with most municipalities in Cyprus, they owe for water supply, and as the water board has to pay their staff.