The Doña Ana County Legal Department this week filed two lawsuits in the Third Judicial District Court seeking immediate payment of delinquent, unpaid fees related to wastewater services dating back to 2004.
“These two lawsuits are just the beginning of a series of suits that will be pressed against people who have failed to pay wastewater fees owed to Doña Ana County,” said Doña Ana County Manager Brian D. Haines. “We will sue for the unpaid fees, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees. The county has the legal authority to place liens on any property for which past-due billings remain on the books, which is what we’ll do if we prevail in court. If people thought we forgot about the money owed to the county, they thought wrong. Failing to pursue these accounts would be grossly unfair to the hundreds of people who pay their bills in a timely fashion.”
In all, Haines said, Doña Ana County will pursue unpaid fees totaling $133,742.99 from 431 delinquent account holders. The delinquent fees range from $76.15 on one account to $1,075.20 on another. The first two lawsuits seek unpaid fees of $715.35 and $721.65, respectively.
Doña Ana County owns and operates wastewater treatment plants in several rural communities along the Rio Grandé. The wastewater systems were installed in an ongoing effort to move communities away from septic systems near the water table. Septic systems do not treat waste, and under-maintained septic systems can result in pollution to the aquifers from which all communities in Doña Ana County draw their drinking water.
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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.