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Delinquent bills addressed, as executive order ends

Cornell City Council

Those with Cornell utilities, should be aware that if they are behind on payments, service could be shut off. The announcement was made at a regular Cornell City Council meeting July 16.

Mayor Mark Larson informed the public, that, as of July 15, utilities can begin issuing disconnection notices for non-payment, and failure to provide documentation of residency and identity. The first available date for disconnection or refusal of service, is Saturday, July 25.

The governor put an executive order in place in March, after the COVID-19 pandemic required many businesses to shut down, resulting in loss of income for utility users. The order stated that utilities could not carry on with disconnections, but the order has now been rolled back.

City administrator Dave DeJongh says the municipality will work with residents to get delinquent bills paid, if requested to do so. Council member Ashley Carothers asked if a lot of city utility users are close to disconnection.

“Yeah, some have taken this opportunity, kind of like they do in the winter,” said De-Jongh, “where you can’t disconnect them during the winter. They’ve taken the opportunity to not make any payments on their bills. It’s not an unusual amount, but yeah, there are some that choose not to come in to make arrangements.”

Bill Kvapil, council member, asked if some of the people are not working, but De-Jongh said there are many services/resources out there, for people in need to turn to for help.

On the subject of help, Carothers reported that she had gone around to most of the area businesses, taking along a We’re All in Grant application. Five businesses have received funds so far after applying, while three stated they wouldn’t have known about the grants if the city hadn’t made them aware.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” said Carothers.

“I’m very happy you done that, too, by the way,” said Larson.

The July 3 parade/street dance/fireworks display, was also discussed, with council members thanking Aimee Korger (in charge of the parade) and Kvapil (in charge of the street dance), for their efforts to make the events a success. Korger and Kvapil reported they made sure the city streets were all picked up after the festivities were complete.

“You did a very nice job of cleaning up,” said Larson.

While members received many compliments about the Juy 3 events, they also received some negative feedback about their role in the happenings.

With that in mind, Carothers said she wants reisdents to understand how the council operates and extends an open invitation to anyone, so there is no confusion and/or animosity.

“I would urge all of our residents to come to an open meeting to see how things are run in the city,”she said, “to see how things are going and what part the council actually plays in these events that happen.”

Carothers also sent out another plea, this time, to ask for donations to the upcoming Red Cross blood drive. The donations will be collected Tuesday, Aug. 4, from noon to 6 p.m., at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. Carothers said there still were spots open for appintment times, as of the meeting.

She asks that anyone who thinks they had COVID at anytime as early as last fall, donate blood, as the Red Cross is testing each donation for antibodies.

“So, it’s a win-win,” said Carothers. “You find out for sure you had it or not, and Red Cross gets blood. And we’re so short of blood right now, it’s ridiculous.”