Suspension of late fees and disconnection on overdue utility bills will end for those Gardner customers who receive a shut-off notice. Late fees and disconnects were put on hold by order of the governor in March 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
As of August, 1,518 customers were delinquent, according to Daneeka Marshall-Oquendo. That totals $1,262,332.
“That’s more than usual,” Marshall-Oquendo said. “On average, we would have 300 scheduled disconnects. If we did utility disconnects today, it would be 306 percent higher.”
Utility customers will receive a letter with information regarding the overdue balance on their account.
The City of Gardner is willing to work with customers to set up payment plans to avoid disconnection, Marshall-Oquendo said. “Also, there are assistance programs available that have been put in place due to the pandemic to help assist customers. It is important for customers to reach out to those resources before there is no longer funding.”
According to the notice:
In March of 2020, the city suspended utility penalties and disconnection of utilities for non-payment in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting Kansas companies from shutting off utilities during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The order expired May 28, 2021.
For those receiving a notice, their account is overdue and will be subject to late fees and delinquent charges per Ordinance 2531, Section 16, starting in October 2021.
Those needing to make payment arrangements should contact the utility billing office at 913.856.7535 or to make payment or payment arrangements.
There are several resources available for those in need of assistance with paying their utility bills, including the following: Multi-Service Center: 913.715.8980; Salvation Army: 913.782.3640; Catholic Charities: 913.782.4077 or LIEAP: 800.432.0043