Rialto City Council tables Rialto Utility Authority Board’s request to rescind the moratorium on water disconnections and late penalties

At the meeting, city council asking Rialto Utility Authority Board why payment plans were not initiated and marketed to delinquent residents during the moratorium.

In August 2022, Rialto City Council motioned to table the Rialto Utility Authority Board’s request to end the moratorium on water disconnections and late penalties for water and wastewater accounts in arrears. 

The City’s Utility manager Thomas Crowley shared that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a shut-off and penalty moratorium was enacted in April 2020 to ensure continuous water service to residents throughout the City. 

“Before the start of the pandemic, there were 2,369 delinquent accounts totaling $550,000. As of June 2022, delinquent balances increased to $1.6 million with 2,627 accounts remaining delinquent,” said Crowley. 

According to Crowley, the delinquent balance from the start of COVID-19 through June 2022 tripled with a total increase of 193 percent; but the number of delinquent accounts increased by 10.8 percent.

“This confirms that the overall delinquency balance is due to an increase of time allowed for the pre- COVID delinquent customers not to be shut-off and penalized for non-payment of services received,” continued Crowley. 

If the request had been carried out, residents past due 90 days or more would have received a notice letter regarding a payment arrangement. Then in September 2022, those residents would have received a door hanger regarding the payment arrangement. 

In November 2022, Veolia would have reported to Rialto Water Services and its water subcommittee on payment plan adoption and would have provided a list of non-payment customers. Finally, in January of 2023, delinquent residents would have started to receive notice of disconnection for non-payment. 

“Madam Mayor, I’d like to table this item for four weeks. We have people two years behind, and it would have been easier if residents were on this plan a year ago, but we didn’t get anyone to listen to us,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott. 

As of September 6th, 2022, the City’s moratorium on water disconnections and late penalties is still in place. 

This item is anticipated to be on the City Council’s agenda at the next meeting on September 13th. 

For more information, visit yourrialto.com.