City updates criteria for utility payment hardship rates
At its April 8 meeting, the Independence City Commission adopted an ordinance modifying its program offering utility payment hardship rates for low-income residents. The modifications redefine the ordinance’s family income standards to match HUD criteria for “Extremely Low Income Limits,” which are based on the number of persons in a family rather than a particular annual income dollar amount. Previously, the City’s threshold for hardship rate qualification was an annual family income of $11,000, regardless of the number of people in the household.
The new ordinance applies to water, sewer and trash service rates and states, “Any family shall be considered a hardship situation if the total annual income for such a family, from all sources, does not exceed the current ‘Extremely Low Income Limits’ as determined by HUD.”
Additional criteria for eligibility include:
- Hardship rates only apply to families living inside the City limits;
- The family must have resided within the city limits for the previous 12-month period;
- The water/sewer account must be listed in the name of the hardship subscriber; and
- The hardship subscriber must be recertified on January 1 each year.
City Manager Kelly Passauer said she has been working on the initiative to update the hardship criteria for the past few years.
“The current Finance Director and I fully support helping those in our community who are most in need,” Passauer said. “Tying this to a HUD standard allows the income limits to be automatically adjusted each year and allows more flexibility in the system for our families who are financially challenged.”
The updated hardship rate application is available for download on the City website at: http://www.independenceks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2113/HARDSHIP-RATES-APPLICATION, or residents may call the City at 620-332-2500 for more information.