Shelby to use state funds to help families with past-due water bills.

September 3, 2020

Shelby to use state funds to help families with past-due water bills.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

SHELBY — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Michigan appropriated $25 million to help struggling families pay their water bills.

The Shelby Village Council voted 5-0 during a special meeting Thursday, Sept. 3, to use a portion of those funds to pay the overdue bills for its customers.

Up to $700 per customer is allotted for water bills with another $700 that can be used to pay outstanding sewer bills, said Interim Village Administrator Bill Cousins.

As of Sept. 1, village records show that water/sewer bill arrearages total $24,825, stated Cousins in a memorandum to the council.

“The program is now moving fast to be able to get funds distributed to help the families in need as quickly as possible,” he said. “The village received a letter from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services late last week advising us of the need to sign an agreement with our local Community Action Agency, then set up a transfer of data to them by this Friday (Sept. 4).”

The state will provide the water bill payments for customers that are: (1) in arrears on their water bill; and (2) receiving public assistance from the state, Cousins explained.

The village is also required to agree to: (1) not shut off water to the recipients for at least 90 days after the payments have been made; (2) not take action to affect a recipient’s credit score or pursue collection against a customer for 90 days after the water assistance is paid; and (3) advise the water customer of the payment made by the state on the next bill sent to the water customer.

There are currently 50-60 village customers out of approximately 750 total households who are behind on their water bills, said Village Clerk/Treasurer Crystal Budde.

Voting in favor of the motion were Village President Paul Inglis and trustees Jim Wyns, Steve Crothers, Bill Harris and John Sutton. Trustees Andy Near and Dan Zaverl were absent. The meeting was held via Zoom videoconferencing due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.

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