Utility relief will continue through mid-September for Waynesboro residents after Waynesboro City Council unanimously voted Monday night to extend its emergency ordinance for a third time.
The ordinance sets penalties and interests at 0% and suspends utility cutoffs. In June, council extended the emergency ordinance through the end of July. The new ordinance extends through Sept. 14.
Deputy city manager Jim Shaw said Monday that of the city’s roughly 8,900 utility accounts more than 720 utility accounts currently are eligible for disconnection. The amount owed on those accounts is about $195,000.
About 12% of those accounts owe less than $100, 49% owe between $100 and $249, another 29% owe between $250 and $499, and 10% owe more than $500.
Shaw also suggested that council allocate a portion of its CARES Act funding to the Department of Social Services as relief money for individuals impacted financially by COVID-19. The city hopes to have that partnership program in place by mid-August.
“We really are painting relief with a pretty broad brush. We don’t know of that group how many have suffered a loss because of COVID,” he said. “We still have a fair number of folks who haven’t accumulated bills large enough that they shouldn’t be able to bring them current, even if they need some assistance or the treasurer sets up a payment plan to pay their bills over a period of time.”
Between now and Sept. 14, Shaw said the city will send out late notices and disconnection notices. The notices will include information on how to apply for utility payment assistance through social services.
City council will consider at its Aug. 10 meeting allocating $75,000 from its CARES fund for the social services program to provide COVID relief to eligible families. Council has not yet decided if the meeting will take place 100% virtually or if city council chambers will reopen to the public by its next meeting.