Winnebago City Council raising water rates may have overshadowed their effort to
help those unable to pay their utility bill on time.
At their Nov. 9 meeting, council members voted to reduce the monthly late fee by 50 percent.
Instead of charging 10 percent of the total amount due, it will now be 5 percent.
“We knew water rates were going up a lot and that we could lower the late fee,” says City Administrator Judi Hynes. “We’re not in the business of making money.”
The city each month mails out about 700 utility bills, says Hynes, and of those around 645 are water users. She says some 50 customers will end up receiving a shut-off notice.
Residents needing help paying their water bill can now turn to Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) for the first time.
Depending on household size and income guidelines, MVAC will issue homeowners or renters grants ranging from $300 to $2,000.
Eligibility for the assistance program is based on the three most recent months of maximum income which are: household of one, $8,804; household of two, $11,520; household of three, $14,230; household of four, $16,941; household of five, $19,651; up to a household of 20, $29,477.
MVAC is currently accepting applications and the deadline to apply is May 31.
Anyone wanting more information may call (800) 767-7149 or the Blue Earth office at (507) 526-5291.