Bend will resume collections, water shut-offs for past due bills
The city of Bend announced Thursday it will once again begin collections proceedings for people who do not pay their water bills. The city said in a statement that, in some cases, it will start turning off water again for delinquent users.
Like many cities, Bend ceased collections and water stoppages at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a statement from city staff, the move was part of the “state of emergency” undertaken in the early days of the pandemic, and intended to keep services flowing during a health emergency.
Since that time, past due bills have reached high levels. According to the Bend Bulletin, people consuming municipal water owe the city roughly $1 million.
“We are pleased we could keep the water flowing to families and businesses experiencing financial struggles over these past two years,” Bend Utility business manager Dana Wilson said in a press release. “We know some customers continue to struggle financially, so financial assistance programs and payment plans are available to help our customers get back on track.”
Later this month, people who have overdue bills will receive a notice from the city. They will have access to payment plans to resolve outstanding fees.
The Central Oregon nonprofit NeighborImpact is also offering assistance to low-income residents. Residents can contact NeighborImpact via email or by calling 541-548-2380 to determine eligibility and apply.
Water shut-offs will resume July 1 for people or businesses that do not pay.
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