KC Water to resume water service shutoffs, Lucas vows to overturn via vote [Updated]

Sugarman Joe Vwzsqx6l9io Unsplash

City Utilities. // Photo by Sugarman Joe via Unsplash

[Update: Oct 1, 5 p.m.: The city council voted 12-1 to suspend water and sewer shut-offs until January 16. The city manager will have 7 days to report back on a program to assist people with bill payments. via KCUR’s Lisa Rodriguez]

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early March, KC Water suspended water shutoffs for the entire city in an attempt to minimize employee contact with customers in the field and ensure everyone had access to water in their homes.

Today, the city’s water provider announced the temporary measure would be lifted come November.

“We understand the need for water and we will do everything we can to maintain water services for customers but they must seek our help,” said John Clarkson, Customer Service Utility Officer at KC Water. “We need delinquent account holders to contact us to avoid a disruption of service for non-payment.”

As a non-profit utility, KC Water is seeking financial relief through the CARES ACT to help customers and replace lost revenue. The CARES ACT (Coronavirus Relief Fund Rent and Utilities Assistance Program) provides a one-time rental and utility assistance to eligible residents who have experienced loss of income or unemployment as a result of the pandemic.

There has mostly been a negative response so far on social media. The negativity has ranged from people upset because the pandemic is still affecting everyone to certain citizens potentially not being able to wash their own hands. When the suspension began back in March, there were fewer than 500 new cases each day. That number has tripled within the last seven months, with approximately 1,500 new cases appearing daily during the month of September. The city is still under a state of emergency until January 16.

Mayor Quinton Lucas has chimed in on social media to take a stance against lifting the suspension. He hopes to have a vote (because of local control) to overturn the decision. Local control refers to states in which the governing and management of a department is largely conducted by elected representatives serving on governing bodies.

Customers can set up a payment arrangement online at www.kcwater.us or by calling 816-513-1313. Northland Neighborhoods, Inc. also contracted with Metro Lutheran Ministry to offer an assistance program available to Northland consumers.  The application for assistance can be accessed at www.mlmkc.org. For questions regarding eligibility, please contact MLM.

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