During a March 2 City Council meeting, authorities voted to implement several relief measures, including the suspension of utility disconnections the waiver of utility late fees and the waiver of trade permit fees for 60 days.
“Based on last fiscal year's total late fees billed in the City's Utility Funds, the City billed approximately $51,000 in late fees for the Water utility, approximately $165,000 in the Wastewater utility, and approximately $32,000 in the Sanitation utility,” a city document states. “The financial impact, based on prior year's collections, is estimated to be $8,500 in the Water Fund, $27,500 in the Wastewater Fund, and $5,300 in the Sanitation Fund, for the 60-day waiver.”
Additionally, council approved a recovery assistance program that suspends utility disconnects due to non-payment; fee waivers for single trade permits, which includes plumbing, electrical and irrigation repairs necessary due to the extreme weather conditions during the winter storm; and funds committed to local donations, according to city information.
Through the program, the city will donate about $13,000 to local food banks and establish a contingency fund for other relief efforts that may warrant disaster relief for citizens. The financial impact on Single Trade permit fee waivers provides more of an unknown as the emergency nature of the permit applications for 2021 were not experienced in 2020. However, the city will still incur the online and processing fees totaling $20 per single trade permit issued for 60 days.
Assistant City Manager Lauren Middleton-Pratt said more information will be forthcoming from the city with regard to applying for fee waivers and other relief options.