UTILITY SAFETY NET ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Binding City Policy
Section 1. The Council finds:
1. The combined water/sewer bills for Portland
residents are relatively high compared to the bills in many other municipalities, and Portland
’s combined bills have been increasing faster than inflation for several years.
2. The Portland
Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services offer bill discounts, crisis vouchers and other forms of low-income assistance to eligible customers that experience difficulty in paying their water/sewer utility bills.
3. Despite this low-income assistance program, there are some customers who, because of temporary circumstances, may have difficulty paying their water/sewer utility bills and may therefore face potential shut-off of water service.
4. It is in the City’s best interests for reasons of public health and the financial benefit to both customers and the City’s water and sewer utilities to assist customers with temporary financial difficulty in paying some or all of their water/sewer utility bills and avoid water shut-off.
NOW, THEREFORE, The Council directs:
a. That the Portland Water and Sewer Utilities Customer Services shall implement a Utility Safety Net Assistance Program that substantially conforms to the provisions, criteria, and customer benefits as described in Exhibit A
b. That the Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services shall incorporate the funding for this Utility Safety Net Assistance Program in their annual financial plans, budgets and utility rates.
c. That the Utility Safety Net Assistance Program shall be effective July 1, 2007.
d. This Ordinance is binding City policy per Code Section 1.07.020.
Section 2. The Council declares that an emergency exists because it is necessary to implement this program in a timely manner to avoid water service shut-offs of customers who may be eligible for the Utility Safety Net Assistance Program; therefore, this ordinance shall be in full force and effect from July 1, 2007 after its passage by the Council.
Emergency Ordinance No. 181052, passed by City Council June 13, 2007 and effective July 1, 2007.