Councilman Faria Introduces A Water Utilities Commission
When a water shut off happens to a family it is a devastating event with possible catastrophic results. Without water, a resident can be evicted from their home by the same City that shut their water off to begin with.
In current city policy, If a resident has a legitimate argument or if they can't satisfy a payment plan that does not completely satisfy the current terms, even if they are being completely forthcoming and humbly asking for assistance, the chances are, that resident will be turned away and their water will be immediately shut off.
The City Administrations policy is too aggressive and provides no avenue for relief of faulty equipment failures. This is wrong and why I voted against any increase in water rates and will not support any unnecessary water increases. The residents need to see tangible results.
I have drafted a resolution calling for a moratorium on water shut offs and requesting the passage by my fellow council members of an ordinance changing this policy. The intention and objective of this Water Ordinance is to:
- Establish due process
- Grant a stay if a legitimate claim is filed until such time that there is a further and complete investigation, study, and/or discussion.
- Allow for more attainable payment plans.
- Allow a period of three days from the first of the month to make the monthly water payment without added penalty.
- Establishes a Water Utilities Commission which will hear disability and individual hardship case appeals in order to pass fair and equitable decisions.
There are residents whom are truly and legitimately struggling, they are in hardships, some have had sudden unemployment or loss of income, some even due to death that ask their representatives to please consider other options. Shutting off their water, a vital necessity to live, should NOT be the first and only option without proper discussion, an adequate investigation, or claim process.
I also believe certain well established businesses and country clubs whom are still operating in the City should not be allowed to rake up bills totaling tens of thousands of dollars. The policy should be equitable to all.
I contend this assistance can be done without negatively affecting the collections process. "This Council's intention is not to collect these fee's without showing any mercy to our residents and their families."