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COLUMBIA - Boone County residents with overdue Columbia sewer bills have until 5 p.m. July 7 to pay without consequence, Columbia officials told KOMU 8 News Wednesday.

Columbia Assistant Finance Director Lynn Cannon said the city is offering a one time "amnesty opportunity" for residents to pay the bill with no late fees before Columbia initiates a termination of water services on July 8.

"We would like the customers to be proactive and come in to take advantage of this and get on board and do the right thing by paying their bills," Cannon said.

Cannon said Columbia sent 163 notices out to residents about the possibility of taking away water. The issue applies only to houses that have non-metered utility service, or houses charged a flat water rate regardless of amount used.

Cannon said most of these houses reside in unincorporated areas of Columbia. These residents get their water from Boone County, but still use the Columbia sewer system. The city would have to pay $100 dollars to request Boone County workers to shut off the water--a fee that would be charged to the account holder. If Boone County workers choose not to shut off the water, Cannon said Columbia workers would physically plug the valve between nonpaying houses and the Columbia sewer system.

"If it would have to result to plugging the sewer, the individuals would not be able to run water or flushing a stool, and then it does create unlivable living conditions," Cannon said.

Cannon said Columbia utility employees are also working on a plan to force Boone County residents with just a Columbia garbage account to pay overdue bills.

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