An exact number isn’t known, but Corpus Christi city leaders say some residents are heeding the advice they issued two weeks ago and paying overdue utility bills before a May 31 deadline.
“For anybody out there who hasn’t been paying their bills, it’s a good time to come in, because it’s going to start the first week of June,” the city’s Interim IT Director Peter Collins said.
What Collins is referring to is the resumption of the issuing of delinquency notices for residents who have unpaid utility bills. The notices threaten disconnection of water, gas, and other utilities if a payment isn’t made within 14 days.
With its new system sending confusing bills to thousands of residents and businesses last summer, Corpus Christi city leaders instituted a grace period on utility disconnection. Collins says, after the city hired him in October, he fixed the system. And now it’s time to collect.
“Now, because we have this stability, we’re moving forward to the next phase,” Collins said.
Delinquency notices will be mailed to residents with the oldest past due utility bills first. The notices will include information about contacting the city to take care of outstanding balances.
“Pay the bill or work out a payment plan,” Collins said. “The city is very cooperative trying to figure out how we can work through this.”
Despite Collins’ assurances that the city will work with residents to get their bills paid while keeping their utilities connected, Corpus Christi pastor James Miller is concerned that some people, including members of his congregation, might not be treated fairly by the city.
“I would hope that our city fathers would really look into this situation greater and consider case by case situations especially with our elderly and young people,” Miller said.
“I think the city will look at different situations differently,” Collins said. “Not everybody’s exactly the same.”