New Palestine’s elected officials understand times are tough for its residents, who may be financially impacted during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, the town council recently voted in favor of waiving late fees and penalties when it comes to the town’s sewer and utility bills.
Town council president Brandee Bastin told council there were a couple of phone calls that came into town hall pertaining to the situation.
“There are many different opinions as to what is the end date of the public crisis,” Bastin said.
Council member Bill Nieimer told council if a family were struggling with a decision to pay the utility bill or buy groceries, he would want them to buy the groceries.
However, not everyone was sold on the measure.
Councilman Clint Bledsoe accused council of being in favor of allowing residents to not pay their bills.
“You’re agreeing to let everyone not pay their sewer bill until the emergency is over? It’s just like if I’m late on my sewer bill, I have to pay a 10 percent penalty. If I don’t have to pay any penalties, I’m not paying my sewer bill. I don’t like this,” Bledsoe said.
Bastin said the bill would still accrue for the customers, and noted that other agencies that typically help residents are also strapped financially due to the outbreak.
The measure passed 4-1 and will be in place until there is further discussion on when the emergency is lifted by Gov. Eric Holcomb. Bledsoe voted against the measure.