Help for water rate hike - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/29/09

Help for water rate hike

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On Wednesday April 1st, the water base rate for most Lubbock households will go from $8 dollars to $18.  In the midst of harsh economic times most residents need a little help.

Case worker for Guadalupe Economic Services Dolores Yzaguirre says ever since the water rate hike was announced her phone has been ringing off the hook.

"We probably get about between 20 to 30 phone calls a day," said Yzaguirre. 

She says the majority of concerns are from the elderly, but not all of them. "Some of the families that call they have never been in this situation before so they don't know where to start and that's their main concern what happens if they don't find anybody to assist them, they get cut off," said Yzaguirre.   

Guadalupe Economic Services is a nonprofit organization that is currently in place to help migrant and seasonal farmers. Everyone else that calls is referred out to another agency, but they say one problem a lot of people can run into is that the majority of help agencies don't assist with water bills. Councilman Todd Klein says that's where the city's water affordability program comes in.

"The charitably groups are saying we just don't have the money to assist people and that's a new dilemma they are already challenged with the economic forces that our out there. This new factor is just something they can't budget for to assist people so for this one year I want the city to play a role in helping that," said Klein.   

But there are strict requirements.  To qualify for the city's water affordability program you must make $22,000 a year or less and at least one household resident must be 65 or older, mentally or physically disabled, or you must have at least one child under the age of 18.

"This project is about making a minor but significant adjustment for those people on modest and fixed income, but I want to be very clear and this is not a massive amount of money to offset the full impact," said Klein.   

The city says they have approved almost 40 applications for the water affordability program. If you think you qualify, call for a pre-screening. The number is 775-2291.

 

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