Facing a Collapsed Economy and a Wave of Nonpayment, Redway Community Services District Starts Shutting Off Water to Customers | Lost Coast Outpost

Enduring economic struggles in Southern Humboldt forced the Rdway Community Services District (RCSD) to shut off water and wastewater services to 16 customers on Thursday. Another 126 customers — more than 20 percent of the district’s service area — are expected to receive closing notices next month.

RCSD sent violation notices to 23 customers Monday morning, as first reported by Redheaded Blackbelt. Many customers have been able to pay their bills or set up a payment plan within 48 hours. Those who could not pay had their water and wastewater services shut off at the meter.

“We had to shut down services on 16 accounts,” RCSD Office Manager Glenn Gradin told the Outpost this morning. “We will run our reports again at the end of this month and see who is on the 90 day delinquency list. Another 60 customers – and then maybe another 30 bad ones – will get it [delinquency notices] and their debts if they haven’t paid or haven’t made arrangements to pay.”

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Earlier this month, RCSD owed about $97,000 in legal fees, forcing the district to dip into its reserves in order to maintain regular operations.

When asked what factors have contributed to the increase in legal fees in the district, Gradin said “a lot of little things” are at play, including inflation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he mostly attributes the current situation to the ongoing recession. the cannabis market.

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“We wanted people to come with us [small bills] to pay their $300 or $400 water bill because they were fixing it,” he said. “Those jobs are over. They just left. There are not enough jobs for people here who pay a living wage. Rents here are through the roof…and that’s how much money they have for rent and food, not their other debts. “

Gradin urged RCSD customers – or anyone struggling to pay delinquent utility bills – to apply for financial assistance through the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) that will pay up to $2,000 in past-due water and sewer bills.

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“People were very hesitant to apply [the program] because they think they will be denied,” he said. “We only had seven people in our service district who completed this program because people often think that your income must be very low or you must be in dire circumstances but this program is designed to be in a safe environment to receive help. “

Those interested in applying for this program should schedule an appointment through the Redwood Coast Action Agency by calling 707-443-3831.

More information can be found at this link.


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