ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Artesia is shutting off some resident’s water because they didn’t pay their bill. While many utilities have halted shut off orders while many are out of work the Mayor of Artesia says his city won’t.

“That strikes me as kinda strange,” said Lawrence Young. Artesia residents couldn’t believe it when they heard people’s water is being shut off during this outbreak.

People say it’s one of life’s essential services and with many people out of work because of the stay at home order, they may have no way of paying their bills. City officials say if a person is 60 days late on the water bill, it will be shut off, and many residents have told us that is what happened to them yesterday, but they owed money long before this outbreak began. The Mayor says it’s been an ongoing issue.

“All of a sudden you have a higher bill than what you normally have and you weren’t in a position to pay the original. How are you going to be able to pay a much higher one? It’s a very difficult situation” said Mayor Raye Miller.

The Mayor says the city is just following current policy. They say it might be a violation of the law to go against that policy without city council approval. They say they are trying to help these families in another way.

“I’ve been on the phone uh, with a couple of non-profits this morning but you know we’re waiting to see if something like that can be done to try and help,” said Miller.

People who live in Artesia say they could be one of the hardest hit financially, with the drop in oil prices. A lot of oil workers could soon be out of work, and unable to pay their bills.