“We’re doing the things that we can do as a municipality to help our constituents,” said Mayor Mike Kloesel. “We’re really fortunate. We’re in a good situation here. We are fiscally responsible in Kaplan, and it doesn’t hurt us to waive those fees.”
The mayor said they have moved their due date from the 15th of every month to the 25th as well as moved the cut-off date from the 21st of every month until the last day of the month.
He said that in special circumstances; the council gives them the ability to waive any kind of reconnect fees under certain circumstances. In addition, they are also waiving and postponing their 3% on water and sewer.
“Waiving the reconnect fees, waiving late fees, moving the due date, it all helps the constituents spread that bill out a little bit and makes it a little bit easier on them,” said Kloesel.
The mayor said the city does not benefit from the rising cost.
“Every increase that we have seen over the past several months; it goes strictly to the generating cost of the electricity, and that goes directly to our energy supplier,” he said.
KLFY News 10 spoke to one resident who lived in the area. She explained how she would struggle with her utility bills.
“One time, my utilities were $550, the next month, it was $615. The next month it was $675. After the third month, I couldn’t pay it. I had to go and apply for utility assistance,” said Swanzetta Julien.
She said that sometimes the utility bills are so expensive that it is more expensive than the rent itself.
“You have to cut appliances off because other than that, you really can’t afford to pay your utilities. You have to pay a price to be able to afford them,” said Julien. “In my case, being that I live alone most of the time, I don’t even qualify for these programs, but you have to pay for it, or you will get cut off.”
However, she is grateful something is being done to provide relief to the community.
“Well, I think that even right now, extending the cut-off date is a good thing. I think that as citizens of Kaplan, we really appreciate that, and hopefully, there will come a day that they won’t be so expensive,” she said.
“It’s really overwhelming to me sometimes to see the gratitude that the people do have. It’s been good. It’s heartfelt,” said the mayor. “They do know that we’re really here working for them and trying to make a difference in their lives.”
The extended fee waivers will continue until December.