Bellwood Makes It Easier For Disabled Residents To Pay Their Water Bills

Sunday, July 15, 2018 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews 

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Bellwood residents with disabilities can now apply for a payment plan if they have trouble paying their water bills thanks to an ordinance the village’s Board of Trustees approved last month.

Under the ordinance, in order to be considered for a payment plan, eligible residents must first submit a request for a hearing. The village will then determine whether to put them on a payment plan and what the terms of the payment plan will be. The village is currently considering other ways of helping residents with disabilities, but those ideas are still being discussed.

According to the information compiled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Water resources, Bellwood’s water rate is $11.17 per 1000 gallons for residential buildings and $13.96 for commercial buildings. The village’s website indicates that it serves 5,539 residential buildings, 297 commercial buildings and 50 industrial buildings.

“We care about our disabled residents and wanted to [provide] help,” said Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey in a recent interview.

According to the most recent U.S Census estimates, 6.6 percent of Bellwood residents under 65 have some kind of disability. That adds up to a little more than 1,000 people.

Harvey explained that there were a few requirements. The program is open to any resident with a physical and/or mental disability, but they must be able to get proof of their disability from a physician licensed in Illinois. They must then apply for a hearing. Applications must be submitted either in person or in writing to the village’s finance department.

From the moment they apply to whenever the village makes its decisions, their water will not be shut off, Harvey said.

The village board considered the ordinance during its June 20 meeting, where it was unanimously approved. VFP 

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