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City sends out notices for overdue water bills

The utilities director says there’s two ways to avoid from having your water cut off if you are late on your water bill: either a payment plan or COVID-19 relief if you are unemployed, options that some people were not aware of.
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 10:18 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The City of Laredo’s Utilities Department sent out disconnection notices for overdue water bills earlier this October.

Just like pre COVID, the city is back to making water disconnections.

They began excusing this for months since March, but now it’s come to an end after more than half a year later.

“We have quite a few accounts that are past due and we are trying to get people to pay their bill. It’s just a matter of getting back to normal business operations.”

The Utilities Director Arturo Garcia says there’s two ways to avoid from having your water cut off if you are late on your water bill: either a payment plan or COVID-19 relief if you are unemployed, options that some people were not aware of.

“Right now what we’ve done is letting people know that it’s there because some customers didn’t know about it or they just didn’t know they could do that.”

Garcia says once the department started disconnections, a surge of interest came towards the payment plans.

“Currently we have about 1,010 customers that have applied for payment plans, and in those payment plans we’ve collected 154,531 dollars.”

Through the COVID-19 relief, $125 is covered on a residents bill, but only unemployed qualify.

“We’re looking at other options for those special hardship cases, for those financially strapped and are unable to pay it.”

At the beginning of October, a report said more than 11,000 customers were past due.

However, this number changes as each billing cycle is run, but Garcia hopes to see it go down.

The department encourages people past due to reach out and let them know if they’ve fallen upon hard time, keeping them from paying their bills.

We’re told the hours at the Annex building have been extended to help people go in to make their payments.

Copyright 2020 KGNS. All rights reserved.

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