With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect the Santa Paula community, the City remains committed to prioritizing the well-being of its residents by offering financial relief related to City services. The City of Santa Paula is utilizing $366,000 of the funds received from the State Water Resources Control Board through the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program (CWWAPP) to help cover overdue residential and commercial water bill payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible Santa Paula Water customers have received an account credit and were notified by the City via mail.
“Many of our residents have experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Jenny Crosswhite. “Recognizing this, it has been a priority for the City Council to find ways to provide our residents who are struggling with some financial relief. While this credit only applies to the water side of the bill, it is a good start. I would like to thank the California State Water Board for creating this program and selecting the City of Santa Paula as one of its award recipients. I am also grateful for our City staff’s hard work to ensure we received this allocation of funds.”
The State Water Board created the arrearage payment program by using federal funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Through the program, community water systems throughout the State were eligible to apply for one-time grant funding to provide their customers with partial or full forgiveness on unpaid water bills from March 4, 2020 to June 15, 2021. In total, the State provided $985 million to community water systems to address debt accrued throughout the pandemic.
In accordance with the program requirements, the City of Santa Paula applied an average of $193.71 as bill credit to a total of 1,687 residential households. Customers who have an outstanding balance after the credit is applied to their account will be directly notified of payment plan options. Customers will then have 30 days to enroll in a payment plan from the date of notification.
As part of the CWWAPP program, customers are protected from shutoffs provided that the customer enrolls in a payment plan within 30 days of notice and does not default on the payment plan. This does not apply to debt accrued before or after the eligible billing period.