Jeff Humphrey

Residents Get Help with Utility Bills

Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308

Friday, March 10, 2023 at 2:58 p.m.

It doesn’t happen very often, but back in January, the United States Postal Service delivered a hand-written thank you note to Spokane City Hall.

The card was written by North Spokane resident Christine Smith.

“To the angels that helped me. Yes, there are angels that work at the city. And they were watching over me. I nearly had a panic attack trying to figure out how to pay my large City of Spokane bill,” Smith said as she recently read her thank you note aloud.

In Smith’s case, the 74 -year-old, who lives on a fixed income, benefited from a $537 credit to her account for her water, sewer, and solid waste services.

“Well, it started with the pandemic. We started to see delinquencies starting to rise at the end of 2020, with customers that didn’t typically not pay their bills. And, we wanted to see what type of funding was out there to help as many customers as we could,” explained Corin Morse, Manager of Spokane Utility Billing.

When member of the Spokane City Council learned customers were starting to fall behind on their payments, they took action.

“And we were hearing from utilities that people were struggling during the pandemic and we could help alleviate that, using some of the American Rescue Plan money, and so, Council did vote to do that,” recalled Council Member Lori Kinnear.

So far, more than 4,400 Spokane residents have received help catching up on their utility bill payments and Smith is one of them.

“And when they paid it. I was flabbergasted. I said ‘Oh my god, what a wonderful blessing,’” Smith said with a smile.

“We’re hearing now, some great stories about people who have had their utility bills paid for and now they’re able to use money, that they would have paid for utilities, for heat, for food. That’s really important,” emphasized Kinnear.

“It helped more than anybody will know. I was so blessed, I just sat and cried. I could not believe it. I could not believe it.” added Smith.

“This particular customer went out of her way to write a very thoughtful note and she really admires the efforts that were made to help so many people,” Morse said of Smith’s thank you card.

City of Spokane leaders hope the one-time Utility Relief Program will help reduce the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue our economic recovery.

If you have questions about your City of Spokane utility bill, call 311.

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