WF residents face waived water bills during COVID-19

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Residents in Wichita Falls are facing crunch time as blue notices are being posted on doors for past due water bills.

This comes after the city waived late fees and suspended disconnections due to COVID-19, but now it’s time to pay up.

Now that the city of Wichita Falls is asking residents to gear up to pay off past due water bills, Kris Gossom, executive director of interfaith ministries, said people are reaching out now more than ever for the resources available to them.

“We’re just now starting to see people who have realize that even if they’ve gone back to work that they may not be working the same number of hours or they may still be behind on some of their bills and so they are coming to us asking for help with their rent or utilities,” Gossom said.

Gossom said the hope is residents will give them a call so they can work with each person on a case by case basis to help pay those bills down because thanks to generous donations they have a lot to give.

“We’ll look at how much money they have, what their income is, what their problems have been, if they’ve lost jobs, if they’ve had hours cut, what’s been going on in their life, and then we’ll look at what their bills are and see how we can pay them,” Gossom said.

This is all confidential, the city is seeing about $300,000 in loss of revenue with about 3,700 accounts past due after suspending disconnection.

Utility collections department billing manager Azura Kerr said they do not wish to cut anyone’s water off and is hoping residents connect with them to avoid being cut off next month.

“It depends on the cycle you live in to when your first payment is going to be needed,” Kerr said. “Ideally, we’d like them to make a payment by their due date by their current bill, so the bill they have in their hand so if it due June 29.”

Kerr said late fees will continue to be waived and service disconnection will continue to be suspended in June however, starting July 1, operations will return to normal, and late fees will no longer be waived.

Non-payment will result in service disconnection.

There is a limit to how much Interfaith is able to offer because they are hoping to stretch out funds to assist as much people as possible. Diapers and food is also available for families.

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