Water continues into Illinois prison despite past-due bills

MOUNT STERLING, Ill. (AP) — The western Illinois city of Mount Sterling won’t cut water service to a prison despite the failure of the state to pay its bill.

The Mount Sterling City Council voted 6-0 Monday against disconnecting service to Western Illinois Correctional Center despite the approximately $320,000 the city is owed. Illinois hasn’t paid its water bill because it is operating without a budget. 

The Quincy Herald Whig reports the council meeting was attended by prison supporters who contended that the shutdown of water service could devastate the local economy. They said they feared the state could decide to close the facility. More than 400 people work at the medium-security prison, which houses about 1,800 inmates. 

Mount Sterling officials say the state is about eight months behind in payments, although a $55,000 payment for November 2015 arrived Monday.