Anonymous donor pays off past due water bills in Harrison, Ark.

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 4:34 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Some people are working harder than ever just to make ends meet because of the coronavirus.

“Being laid off from work and not being able to go back and get a regular paycheck like normal has put a lot of people in a bit of a pinch,” said Marisa Edmondson, the billing clerk for the Harrison Water Department.

Since March, the City of Harrison has not shut off anyone’s water even if they haven’t paid their bill because they understand people are going through tough times.

But the department was planning to start shutting off water again this month.

“We were really concerned about this because over the last six months, some of these people had run up some big bills, and normally we shut off with two months delinquent. There are many on there right now because of COVID that are six months,” Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson.

Water payments were due by the 20th.

But, a woman who wants to remain anonymous called last week and offered to make a donation toward residents' delinquent water bills.

“She said, ‘What if I give $15,000? Could you find somebody else to give the rest or maybe the city could write it off?’ And I said, ‘Ma’am, you give $15,000, and we’ll figure out a way to get rid of the rest,” Jackson said.

More than 200 people in the city now have one less thing to worry about this month.

“Everyone that’s on the disconnect list is going to be forgiven, therefore no water shutoffs,” Jackson said.

The mayor said the $15,000 covered the majority of the cost of all of the water bills, and the city covered the rest. But he welcomes another person to donate if they want to make up for the rest instead.

Edmondson has worked at the water department for two-and-a-half years. She said no one has ever made a donation like this while she’s worked here, and she’s happy to deliver the good news to people.

”We’ve had a lot of people drive by and about burst down in tears because they’ve had somebody take care of that bill for them,” Edmondson said.

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