Monett puts stop on utility disconnects

Monday, March 23, 2020

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) public health threat, the city of Monett has adopted a new temporary policy relating to small businesses and utility disconnects.

“We understand that we will have a number of our local businesses making difficult choices in the coming days, weeks and months,” said Dennis Pyle, city administrator. “Those choices will involve whether you keep the doors open while our community manages the consequences of a global pandemic. The city of Monett believes that if a small business has to suspend operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, even for a short time, there is an increased risk that the business may not re-open. The City wants to assist in any way that we can, and we believe the most direct way to provide assistance is to offer a grace period for these small businesses in paying their monthly utility bill. This policy also covers residential customers but I want to focus attention on the assistance provided to our small business owners.”

On March 19, the City Council approved Resolution No. 8768, which suspends the disconnecting of city-owned utilities for all usage during the months of March, April and May. This impacts the monthly utility bills that will go out in April, May and June. The City will not disconnect utilities for this time period for non-payment.

“Our customers are encouraged to pay to the best of their abilities,” Pyle said. “For some small businesses, that amount may be zero. We understand that you may be faced with the decision to pay the utility bill or to pay your employees or take delivery of products that you need to operate your business. In this case, during these times, the City encourages you to make these other payments first.”

It should be noted, that the utility charges during this three-month period aren’t being forgiven, they are just being postponed. However, the city is allowing customers a 12-month grace period to make payments that were skipped or not paid in full.

The city will extend the balances due on the March, April and May utility bills for 12 months in 12 equal installments.

“It is our hope that this assistance will help our small businesses sustain their business until economic growth returns,” Pyle said. “We wish everyone well during these unprecedented times and look forward to better days ahead.”

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