In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Santa Paula had suspended water shut-offs and penalties for overdue utility bills for nearly three years to provide much needed financial relief to the community. As Santa Paula continues to move forward, the City will resume utility late fees and shut-offs beginning in January 2023 to re-standardize enforcement efforts and resolve outstanding customer balances. City staff will continue working with customers to try to address outstanding balances and avoid water shut-offs through alternative payment plans provided by the City.
“Over the last few years, City staff has worked hard to secure state and federal assistance funds to minimize financial hardships wherever possible,” said Mayor Jenny Crosswhite. “Earlier this year, the City was able to apply $711,000 to past due water bills through California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program, which paid off a portion or the entire past due amount during the relief period, helping nearly 1,800 accounts. As we exhaust these one-time relief funds, I urge all residents to check their accounts and work with City staff on resolving any outstanding balances and enrolling in a payment plan if required.”
Moving forward, the City will process shutoffs in accordance with Senate Bill 998, following the updated waiting period and notification requirements. To avoid discontinuing service, customers are encouraged to reach out to the City at 805-933-4211, Option 1, to learn more about setting up a payment arrangement. To sign up for payment arrangements, customers must do so in-person, must be an account holder and must provide a photo I.D.
Santa Paula residents may also be eligible for one-time payment assistance of up to $2,000 per household to help resolve past due water or wastewater bills through the federally funded Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). The program is free and helps pay overdue bills that were accrued during any time frame.
Your household may qualify if:
- A household member is a current recipient of CalFresh or CalWORKs
- You have a past due amount on your water or wastewater bill
- Total household gross income is at or below 60% of the State Median Income
Renters who have water and/or wastewater bills included in their rental payment may still qualify for LIHWAP if they are past due on rent. As part of the application process, renters must complete an agreement with their landlord to apply the benefit amount to their overdue rent. To apply or find out more about this free program, contact Community Action of Ventura County at 805-436-4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s important for our residents to know that there are options to help them with their water bills that will prevent any discontinuation of services,” said Dan Singer, City Manager. “City staff are prepared to guide customers through the process and help them find a solution that is best for them.”
All Santa Paula water customers will be receiving more information about the LIHWAP program and service requirements with their November water bills. For more information about LIHWAP, please visit the California Department of Community Services and Development website or Community Action Ventura County.