Morehead City to establish utility payment plan program

A water tower welcomes residents and visitors to Morehead City. The city said it will establish a payment plan for residents and commercial utility users affected financially by the novel coronavirus pandemic for water, sewer and solid waste charges. (Elise Clouser photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — The city will allow individuals experiencing financial hardship due to the novel coronavirus pandemic to establish payment plans for utilities, including water, sewer and solid waste services.

The Morehead City Council discussed the payment plans last week during a workshop meeting. The matter will be included on the consent agenda for the council’s regular monthly meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Morehead City will establish the payment plan program in accordance with Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 124, which was issued March 31. Among other things, the order directed utility providers to suspend residential disconnects for nonpayment through Monday, June 1. It also suspended assessment of late payment penalties incurred between March 21 and June 1.

The city plans to extend the terms of the executive order to commercial utility users, as well.

According to information provided in the upcoming meeting agenda packet, the governor’s executive order is set to expire June 1, after which the city will resume normal disconnections and late fee policies. But for charges incurred between March 31 and June 1, residents and commercial users can set up a payment plan for the charges and will have until Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, to pay off the delinquent balance.

“Recognizing the financial hardship many of you now face, and in compliance with EO 124, we are offering the following payment plan to our customers who are unable to pay their account balance in full that relates only to charges incurred from March 31, 2020 through June 1, 2020,” reads information provided in the agenda packet. “To the extent you are able, we encourage you to continue to pay on your account to avoid accumulating large account balances.”

More information about how to establish a payment plan will become available to residents once the council formally passes the program. Unless Executive Order 124 is extended, the city has a Tuesday, June 30 deadline for residents to establish a utility payment plan.

“Please note that EO124 does not extinguish or waive your account balances. If you had an unpaid account balance as of March 31, 2020, you will need to continue to pay toward that account balance,” the agenda packet information continues.

Payment plan participants must agree to pay a minimum of 10% of utility charges incurred between March 31 and June 1 by Tuesday, July 14. After that, the remaining balance will be split into equal payments over five additional months, until a final payment due date of Jan. 14, 2021.

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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