Mineral Wells Area News

City to Disconnect Water Services for Unpaid Bills Accrued During Covid Moratorium

City to Disconnect Water Services for Unpaid Bills Accrued During Covid Moratorium
May 13
09:35 2022
MW residents have just a few weeks left before any unpaid water bills during COVID-19 moratorium will cause service disruption

It’s been over two years since the country came to a standstill because of COVID-19. As people begin to find their new-normal, city leaders also hope to get back to business as usual and that of course could mean disconnecting water taps for unpaid bills.

In March of 2020, in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mineral Wells city council passed a moratorium on water disconnections for unpaid bills to alleviate stress on account holders during those uncertain times.

“The council passed two ordinances that temporarily suspended disconnection of utility systems to both residential and commercial accounts,” said the city finance director Jason Breisch, who did not work for the city at that time. “They also passed a suspension of late and delinquent utility fees,” he said.

Fast forward to August 2021 when Breisch was hired by the city. He began digging into financial records and noticed “thousands, upon thousands” of dollars in unpaid water bills, and decided to speak to the council.

City Finance Director Jason Breisch

Shortly after that discussion, in October of 2021, city council voted to end the temporary disconnect moratorium and Breisch began to send letters to more than three-hundred delinquent utility customers.

Letter from city to delinquent water utility customers

The city gave customers until April 30, 2022 to pay the unpaid balances.

Many of those accounts have been shored up according to Breisch, but says there are still more than one-hundred delinquent bills totaling many tens of thousands of dollars.

“Since we sent that letter in late October/November, we’ve also sent bills every month to remind customers of their debt and due date. We just want to remind those folks that on June 1, disconnections will occur,” stated Breisch.

“We just have to get back to the order of doing business.”

Customers were actually given an extra month to make the payment according to Breisch and says there are just a few weeks left before a multitude of disconnections could occur. He is preparing staff for an influx of payments but certainly hopes citizens won’t overwhelm city hall the last day of the month.

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