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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Helping Howard County residents with water bills

       An easy way to help out our fellow Howard County citizens with unpaid water bills was recently started.   By simply rounding up your bill to the next dollar a fund can be created to assist those who have trouble paying their water bill.  Sounds like an easy way for all of us to help in a painless way. Here is the information on the program:

"Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman unveiled a new program for connecting Howard County residents who need assistance in paying water and sewer bills with residents who want to help.

Called “H2O Help to Others,” the program will be funded by residential customers who may voluntarily round up their bills to the nearest dollar.

“This is a great way for Howard County residents to help others in need,” Kittleman said. “Just a few cents from each of us can make a real difference to our neighbors.”

Residential water and sewer customers will be able to make donations to the fund starting with the March bill. On those bills, customers will see a check box to opt in to participate by rounding up their payments to the next highest dollar. Residents will also be given options to make on-going, or one-time, donations to the program.

The funding will be used to assist customers with delinquent accounts who are facing disconnection of service. The County has selected a non-profit, Family and Children Services, to administer the program and verify the need of those seeking assistance.

In a typical year, the County’s Department of Public Works Bureau of Utilities will disconnect more than 600 accounts with past due amounts. The average residential water and sewer bill in Howard County is $160 per quarter.

Howard County has 70,000 active residential water and sewer accounts. If 10 percent of those agreed to participate, the County would raise an estimated $6,000 yearly for the program.
The Department of Public Works has agreed to set aside at least $50,000 for the program.

Legislation to authorize the program was approved by the Howard County Council in October, and the implementation details have been in development since then.

Those residential customers facing disconnection of water services should contact the County’s Department of Finance Water and Sewer Division at 410-313-2058."


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