(FLINT, Mich.) — Flint city officials are pleased announce there has been a very positive outcome in the ongoing effort to secure payment for sewer and water services being provided to commercial customers with high past due account balances. There has been particular interest and concern regarding local apartment complexes with overdue utility accounts. To date, all of the payments promised to the city have been received.
The city has received the required payment of the current balance plus 10 % of the past due balance from the owners of Averill Apartments, Orchard Lane Apartments and Hallwood Plaza just to name a few. These accounts have been removed from the shut off list and the water credits have been restored.
As announced last week, the state funded Water Relief program has officially been extended through December 31, 2016. The program has provided residential customers with a 65% credit on the water charges of their utility account and commercial customers with a 20% credit dating back to April 2014 when the City’s water source was switched to the Flint River.
The $12.75 million in relief provided in the current State of Michigan budget includes a stipulation requiring the City to have a 70% collection rate on water/sewer bills. In order for the credits to stay in place, the City must show that customers are paying their bills as required by the state.
The collection rate for commercial utility accounts has increased to 76%, a major improvement. However, the collection rate for residential accounts is currently below 30%. In effort to help increase the collection rate of residential utility accounts, operating hours of the Flint Customer Service Center are being extended to allow residents more time to contact representatives to discuss their account and make payment arrangements.
Beginning the week of November 28, the Customer Service Center will be open: Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
“Again we thank the commercial customers who have complied with the program and now we are asking residents to do the same and help the city cover the cost of water and sewer services being provided,” said David Sabuda Flint’s Chief Financial Officer. “We are willing to work with residents unable to meet the full terms of the payment requirement, but we City officials must also show the state that our customers are paying for the services we provide.”
Along with their utility bills, residential customers with past due balances are being sent a letter informing them they must pay the current balance on their utility account plus 10% of past due balances. The letter also explains what is at stake if the balance on their water/sewer account remains past due. Customers who do not make the required payment will not receive the 65% relief credits in December, a late penalty will be added to their account, and shut offs may be scheduled. This plan is necessary to help the City increase its collection rate and preserve the credit program for all utility customers as the City of Flint continues to recover from the effects of the water crisis.
Customers with financial hardships who want to ensure that their credits stay in place and that they are not placed on the shut off list, can come to City Hall to discuss payment options with a representative in the Customer Service Center. Customers with questions can also call the Customer Service Center at (810) 766-7015.