Rebounding from economic shock: Check your city hall

Posted at 4:10 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 21:27:32-04

MARLIN, TX — As many of us struggle to rebound from the economic catastrophe caused by COVID-19, the struggle has not gone unnoticed.

Some local governments have started adjusting their budgets and their incomes when it comes to customer utility payments.

In a country shell shocked by the economic effects of the pandemic, many of us can use a little help with bills that have started piling up.

If that's what you’re looking for, you might not have to look any further than your own city hall.

Like the virus itself, William Farmer got a shock from nowhere when his water bill came.

"I received a bill in the mail my water bill and my sewer, for 4-hundred dollars this month. What is my normal bill? About 160," he explained.

The retired architect panicked for a moment, but then wondered what caused the jump.

A call to City Hall got him the answers he needed.

His water use coincided with another problem.

"Two people that were living in my house that I was evicting, back in March, actually turned on some water outside my house and let it dribble or at least run for a couple of months," he said.

The act of vandalism set him back hundreds, but Farmers call to city hall also got him some much-needed help.

"Because of the COVID-19, what the city has done is basically we've given them 60 days, so they don't have to worry about, for two months, getting that water bill in," said Marlin City Manager Cedric Davis.

That's not all.

Marlin has suspended cutoffs on billed water service, and will help folks pay off their bills in installments from 6 months to a year.

"Everybody's struggling right now, so in any way we can somewhat ease that burden, until somebody can get back up on their feet so we're trying to do that," Davis explained.

This was good news to Bill Farmer who hopes to pay off the bill and try to make it up with conservation efforts over the next few months.

"We can't survive, if we start getting hit up with big bills," he said.

Not all cities can extend breaks like this because they’ve suffered from a loss in sales taxes as many of us stayed home and stopped spending.

So check with your city hall to see what they can do.