Laredo City Council had a lengthy conversation this week about the 500 or so households that have not paid their water bills and have been without water for two weeks.
Council had voted in March to not disconnect people’s water during the pandemic, which officials noted gave customers no incentive to pay their bills. By September, all outstanding utility bills, which includes solid waste and environmental fees too, totaled around $4 million, according to the Utilities Department. Usually their receivables are around $600,000.
So in October, the city began to send out disconnection notices to delinquent accounts of which there were around 17,000 — roughly 20% of Laredo households.
In the spring, the city set aside $4.5 million for a utilities relief program where customers who could prove unemployment due to the pandemic would have their water bills paid for by the city. This program has been under-utilized, and $3.9