City of Spokane water customers who are behind on their bills will have until the end of March to get caught up if a resolution to extend the deadline is approved by the Spokane City Council tonight.
The moratorium on utility shutoffs and late fees in Washington state expired at the end of September.
Spokane Public Works Director Marlene Feist says about one our of 10 city utility customers, or about 7,500 accounts, are still behind on their bills. That adds up to about $6.3 million in past due bills.
“That 7,500 number represents a lot of people, and a lot of people who have really struggled through this time,” Feist said. “Our goal is to get people to start thinking about this, and take some action with us.”
Feist says city leaders are concerned that trying to collect those utility bills now could worsen the housing crisis. She says there is federal relief money available and the city’s U-help program can cover smaller bills.
She says even if water customers can’t repay their entire bills by the end of March, agreeing to a repayment plan will prevent a shutoff.
The city council is scheduled to vote on the new deadline during their 6 p.m. meeting tonight.