Galesburg Aldermen talk water shutoffs, moratorium temporarily reinstated

Galesburg City Council made no binding decisions on shutting off water service to those with delinquent bills Monday night but are slated to talk about it in a work session next week.
City Manager Todd Thompson says in the meantime he will direct all shut-off water to be restored.

Thompson says the decision to end the moratorium was his but said it’s the council’s prerogative if they would like to explore another moratorium or at least on late fees.

Thompson says the water fund is an enterprise fund, supported only by revenue from bills being paid, and there’s currently about $50,000 in outstanding bills for 65 residences.

The City Manager says he has empathy for people in a hard time but it was his hope those people would call the city, or take advantage of assistance programs provided by state and federal resources or various non-profits.

“And many people did that. As of today, there are only about 65 accounts that are shut off. Some of those properties made be vacant. Some of them are accounts that were started and they’ve never paid anything on their utility bills,” Schwartzman says.

Alderman Peter Schwartzman says he doesn’t buy arguments about the issues’ economics saying, ” if this community can’t give poor people water…..we should shut down.”

Alderman Bradley Hix says that talking to his constituents says many people said they wanted to help those down on their luck but thought there needed to be some “personal responsibility.”

Alderman Wayne Dennis suggested waiving late fees until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alderwoman Corine Andersen says just because the city notified people their water would be shut-off doesn’t mean people received the notice or understood it.

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