City suspends utility cutoffs

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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Last Thursday, Franklin’s City Council voted to suspend all utility cutoffs through June 10, joining a growing list of municipalities across the nation to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As such, no one who receives electricity, water or sewer service from the city will lose that service due to non-payment for at least the next two months.

Per the Council’s decision, individuals who are struggling financially due to the impacts of COVID-19 will be allowed two extensions until March 2021, with late fees, penalties and interest waived on bills that come due between now and June 10. City Manager Amanda Jarratt clarified that this does not apply to any bill that had a balance and was delinquent prior to Gov. Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency on March 12. Businesses and individuals negatively impacted by COVID-19 can also request to enter into a payment plan.

“We strongly encourage those who can pay their bill or portions of their bill to continue to do so,” Jarratt said.

According to her March 31 memorandum to City Council, the financial impact to the city’s electric fund from penalties and interest being waived is roughly $12,500 per month and another $4,100 per month to the city’s water and sewer fund. A four-month impact to both city funds would translate to about $66,400.