The City Commission met Wednesday and voted to resume disconnecting utilities when payments are not made. The City will provide a 60-day notice before disconnecting.
City staff will also work with utility customers to apply for U.S. Treasury utility and rent assistance funds and establish payment agreements with utility customers on a case-by-case basis.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the City of Tallahassee placed a hold on utility disconnections due to financial hardships caused by the pandemic. Tallahassee was the first city in the state to take this action and will be one of the last to resume utility disconnections.
Beginning in March, the City will provide three payment assistance options to customers who experience problems paying for utilities. The options will be Customer Pay Plans, Customer Pay Agreements and Customer Extensions. Costumers and businesses will also be able to apply for the U.S. Treasury rent and utility assistance funds which are administered by Leon County. This fund is worth $8.9 million and will be paid directly to the landlord or utility provider. This fund can support an eligible household with past-due utilities or rent for up to 12 months.
The City will make providing warning to residents a priority when utility disconnects resume. Warning residents is considered the first step in helping them address their utility debt. Before any disconnections happen, the City will launch a communications campaign to inform residents who may have a disconnect at their household or business.
Time to pay the piper it seems. My wife and I were just discussing this and the moratorium on rent payments. It seems that both moratoriums are about to end and who really pays? No free lunch comes to mind. The poorest and the unlucky will be hit the hardest again. I wonder how many people chose to go deeper that could have paid their bills! I don’t blame those that could not pay the bills. They need a hand and should get it, but those that took the easy way (like the liberal states and cities) should not be bailed out.
Interesting enough, I came across this meeting while channel surfing and decided to watch for a few, and I happened to watch this issue. I must admit I was taken aback at the nearly $10-million in delinquency figure. This cannot be good for the City’s Bond Rating. About $60-million of our tax dollars have already been given to Leon County for this specific purpose, 2 stimulus checks have also been disbursed, and $2400 extra per month in unemployment… and people still aren’t paying their bills? Take one guess who will end up picking up the tab for these deadbeats.
Credit where due, both Richardson and Williams-Cox made excellent points in their arguments in favor of ending this ridiculous moratorium. Even Porter seemed to get the pragmatics of the issue. However, I do have just one question for Matlow… “Have you been handing out pizzas to Tallahassee residents every day and running tabs for those people for over a year – and – expecting them to pay up when they get the ‘next’ stimulus check?”
Again, if you ran your business like politicians run our government… you’d have no business at all.