WESLACO, Texas (KVEO) — Cities across the Rio Grande Valley began grace periods for people who could not pay utility bills at the height of the pandemic.
But those grace periods are about to end and people will have to start paying up.
“Of course, it’s a necessity that everyone needs in the city,” said Weslaco resident Bianca Silva. “If they start shutting it off there’s going to be people wondering what to do next.”
The city of Weslaco says they sent out 1,700 letters by mail informing those with overdue accounts that they have until October 31 to make a minimum payment of $20.
Weslaco says there is $330k in outstanding balance right now –up from $55k last year.
Harlingen and Brownsville officials have already sent out notices to customers, and resumed billing October 1.
“I just can’t believe that city leaders that are supposed to work in the community are thinking about doing this to people who can’t work,” said Weslaco resident Amado Valdez. “I just feel that it’s wrong to start doing that, that people ought to be—the city especially, the city leaders, should be trying to work to help the citizens.”
The City of Weslaco says it is offering payment plans for bills overdue since March along with financial assistance to qualifying customers.
Brownsville says they have a financial assistance program, ‘SHARE’, where customers can apply if they need assistance.
But residents say they need more time.
“There’s some of us out here who don’t have money just to pull out of pocket,” said Silva. “We are grateful for the grace period but there’s more time needed.”
Valdez adds that without city hall open in Weslaco, it makes it much harder for residents to pay their bills in person.
You can find financial assistance here:
Residents may qualify for financial aid for utilities through the County of Hidalgo’s Community Service Agency at (956) 383-6240 or visit https://www/hidalgocounty.us/1063/Community-Service-Agency for more information.
For more information on Project SHARE or to download the application, customers should visit our website at www.brownsville-pub.com or get in contact with one of our customer service representatives at 956-983-6121.