The City of Huntsville provides water, sewer, and garbage services to over 9,000 customers. Among those, approximately 500 customers are delinquent in payments.
The City Council voted to suspend the disconnection of water services in April 2020 as part of an Ordinance to provide health protections to citizens and relief during the economic struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to staff reports, as of the end of October, there were approximately 570 customers with an average delinquent balance of around $285.
The City Council voted 8 to 1 on December 1 against reinstating cutoffs. During that Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Rodriquez noted that citizens do have the option of donating to the accounts of those experiencing hard times.
Project Help is a program the city has had in place for many years in which money donated through utility bills have been collected by the city and then passed along to the COME Center to provide utility payment assistance to those in need.
“This is an attempt to better assist city residents who are struggling with their city utility bill,” said City Manager Aron Kulhavy. “Staff is working to add a donation line to the paper water bills, as well as on the payment center for utility bills.”
Additionally, a form has been added to the City’s website at www.HuntsvilleTX.gov/ProjectHelp that can be completed by customers who would like to make an ongoing monthly donation.
“Customers who are past due on their accounts will receive a letter from the City indicating their past due balance and informing them that while the City is not currently suspending service for non-payment that eventually the practice will be put back in place,” Kulhavy said. “The letter will encourage the customer to make as much of an additional payment as they can in order to bring their unpaid balance down but the letter will also provide information about Project Help and contact information for the COME Center if they need some assistance in paying a portion of their bill.”
The City donated $25,000 of CARES Act funding to the COME Center, with an understanding that the monies will be used to help residents pay down their water bills. For more information about assistance from the COME Center, call 936-295-0671. To assist through a donation, log on to HuntsvilleTX.gov/ProjectHelp.