Local governments institute moratoriums to help citizens who can’t pay bills
As the coronavirus crisis continues causing economic trouble across the U.S., local governments have stepped up to protect people who can no longer pay their bills due to job loss.
Many cities across the country have taken action to suspend utility shut-offs, city debt collection, evictions and foreclosures for residents who cannot pay their bills. Below is a non-comprehensive list of cities that are temporarily halting late payment penalties due to economic fallout from the Coronavirus:
Utility payments and city debt
- Austin Energy, the utility of Austin, Texas, implemented courtesy utility reconnects and suspended all shut-offs due to nonpayments, the Austin Monitor reports.
- Chicago is halting all debt collection, and utility bills are now due April 30, according to Block Club Chicago.
- In addition to unpaid utility payments, Columbus, Ohio, is suspending the collection of EMS fees, transportation fees and delinquent city income taxes, NBC4I reports.
- Pensacola, Fla., Mayor Grover Robinson IV has asked his city to donate his salary to Pensacola Energy and the Pensacola Sanitation Services Department, according to WRCBTV. “If I was afraid for myself, I would be doing something to retain that, but I’m not going to ask you to lose your salary if I’m not willing to do the same at this particular time,” Robinson said.
Evictions and foreclosures
- Multnomah County, Ore. and its county seat, Portland, Ore., have instituted moratoriums on evictions that will give tenants six months of time to repay any owed rent after the city’s and county’s states of emergency end on March 26 and April 10 respectively, according to The Oregonian.
- Sacramento, Calif., has expanded a moratorium on residential evictions to include business tenants as well, according to the Sacramento Bee.
- Larger cities such as Boston, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and San Antonio have also passed various resolutions that ban residential evictions for a set period of time, various news outlets report, according to The Hill.
- Spokane, Wash., Catawba County, N.C. and Stark County, Ohio, are among the local governments that have also temporarily banned foreclosures, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, the Hickory Daily Record and CantonRep.