Government

Joliet ending waiver on water bill late fees, moratorium on shut-offs

Water bill assistance available through new federal program

The city of Joliet is ending a moratorium on certain water bill fees and shut-offs that was put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late fees on water bills and charges for use of credit cards have been waived since March 2020, when Mayor Bob O’Dekirk announced a local state of emergency that included measures to adapt to pandemic conditions.

The City Council at a meeting Tuesday unanimously approved ending the waiver on the fees and charges.

The vote also included an end to the moratorium on water shut-offs at the end of winter.

City staff did not specify what date the shut-off moratorium would end and could not be reached Thursday for details. Council members and the mayor did not comment before the Tuesday vote.

But a staff memo to the council noted that new assistance is available for people who can’t pay their water bills.

That assistance is coming from the federal Low Income Household Water Assistance Program.

The program is administered locally by the Will County Center for Community Concerns, which also administers LIHEAP for people needing help with energy bills.

“There is a large demand for people needing help with their water bills across Will County,” Kris White, executive director for the WCCCC, said Thursday.

People can get up to $1,500 in assistance in paying their bills. To get assistance, they must owe at least $250 or have received a disconnection notice.

Households will receive a one-time payment on a first-come, first-served basis through Aug. 31, as long as funds are available. Applications must be received by May 31.

People can apply at the WCCCC main office at 2455 Glenwood Ave. in Joliet or at the center’s outreach locations.

Information about outreach locations, income guidelines, required documents, and applications is available by calling 815-722-0722 or by visiting the website wcccc.net.