|(Seguin) -- The city of Seguin is rounding up your utility bills in an attempt to help struggling customers pay their bills each month. Seguin City Council members on Tuesday approved the creation of a new Roll Up Seguin program. |
Assistant City Manager Rick Cortes says the program is pretty straight forward, and is similar to other rounding up programs in the area. Cortes says each customer will pay a little bit more as all bills will be rounded up to the next whole dollar.
"It's a program similar to what GVEC currently provides and works through the Community Council of South Central Texas and what this is is it rolls up a bill either to the next dollar. It can be as low as one penny or it can be as high as 99 cents. So the max impact annually if it's 99 cents every month is about $11.88," said Cortes.
Cortes says the program will have a minimal impact on most rate payers, but it could be just the thing needed to help people get back on their feet when they can't afford to keep the lights on at home.
"Now, the target audience that is going to be effected by this is going to be the elderly, the disabled, the group below a certain poverty level. The qualified applicants will be qualified through the CCSCT and they will provide the vouchers. All the funds will remain with the city of Seguin and we'll just be paying off those vouchers," said Cortes.
Councilman Ernest Leal says he has a soft spot for these types of programs, and he thinks it's something that's needed here in Seguin.
"The ones that benefit from this are the elderly, the disabled and the young women that have children under 5-years-old and some of them work but they struggle with their bills so these are the type of folks that we are going to be looking out for and make sure that they get the assistance that they need," said Leal.
Cortes says working with the Community Council of South Central Texas (CCSCT) helps them make sure that they are getting these funds to the people who actually need them. Cortes says, right now, there are people who could use the help, but there's nothing available to them through the city. This program will change that.
"Only around six percent of people that actually have a need for this have assistance. So it's like 94 percent of people that actually could use this assistance -- that don't have access to any kind of funds for assistance. It's going to be a maximum of $300 annually and it can be done in two vouchers," said Cortes.
The Roll Up Seguin program will be applied to all city of Seguin utility accounts. Customers must opt out of the program, otherwise, each monthly bill will be rounded up to the next whole dollar.