Citizens react to past due $2.3M utility account of Kane Beef

Posted at 5:19 PM, Apr 30, 2018

What would happen if you fell behind on your city utility payments? More than likely, for most of us,  your utilities would be cut off until you paid.

That’s what has a lot of people talking about Kane Beef. As KRIS 6 News previously reported, the company owes the city more than $2.3 million in past due utility payments. That debt dates back about a year.

City council members will hold a special meeting about this Tuesday. For now, their constituents are saying they don’t think that Kane Beef is being held to the same standards as residents, when it comes to utility payments.

Mayor Joe McComb’s learned about Kane Beef’s past due utilities account last week and, in response, called the special meeting. He also found out that million of dollars owed include a fee for a bounced check that was supposed to cover the first installment of a repayment plan.

The mayor told KRIS 6 News that he and several other city leaders met with Kane Beef on Friday. At the conclusion of the meeting, attorneys for the company and the city signed a new repayment agreement. Kane Beef was set to make a payment on Monday, ahead of the special council meeting.

Still, some people we spoke with at a local senior center say this situation isn’t fair to taxpayers. They don’t believe the city would be as lenient with residents and say those debts trickle down to them.

"They should pay what they owe. That’s why the city’s in such big debt and we’re the ones paying for it because we’re getting the fees raised," resident Edna Sarabia told KRIS 6 News.

Another resident said, "I mean, if you and I owed our utility bills, they would cut ours off, right? Why are they exempt? What’s so special about them?"

Last week, Mayor McComb said he also raised the option of cutting off the utilities at Kane Beef. He says he was told by the city’s legal department that he couldn’t do that.

The city also sent KRIS 6 News a statement Monday afternoon that read, "Both residential and commercial accounts are offered payment plans for utility delinquencies on a case-by-case basis. Utility liens may also filed on subject properties as a safeguard to collect funds."

One of the goals of Tuesday’s special council meeting is to find out why Kane Beef’s utility account was allowed to remain past due for so long. Mayor McComb also wants to know why it took so long for the council to find out about this debt.