Amid pandemic, City of Eudora won’t collect late fees for utilities
As many people face economic hardship because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Eudora City Commission has agreed not to collect late fees added to delinquent city utility payments during the pandemic.
The measure, which was approved on Monday, builds on a statewide order issued by Gov. Laura Kelly on March 17, which prohibited utilities from discontinuing service for nonpayment until a statewide disaster proclamation related to the pandemic is lifted. Eudora City Manager Barack Matite said commissioners took the action because they expected that many residents would lose hours or be laid off because of the pandemic.
“We will do our part in the spirit of cooperation,” he said. “We know these are exceptional times, and people are experiencing hardships.”
The commission also approved a measure allowing its members to participate in city meetings remotely in case they are sick or self-quarantined, Matite said.
Matite said he and city staff members are reviewing the pandemic’s impact on city sales tax collections and utility revenue. Although none of the larger utility customers in Eudora’s Intech Business Park have closed because of the pandemic, the city’s electrical and water departments will lose revenue because the local schools are closed, he said.
“We’re having a discussion of how this could impact this year’s budget and will adjust accordingly,” Matite said. “The biggest impact will probably be in year two, on the 2021 budget.”
Matite said most of the city’s operations haven’t drastically changed for the time being. He said the city has only suspended one service: its building inspections. A few city employees are now working from home, he said, but most are reporting to their normal workplaces.
However, residents who normally show up to city offices to pay for services in person will now be required to submit payments or paperwork online, through the mail or at special dropoff locations, Matite said.