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Coronavirus: Dayton to resume water shut-offs

Dayton will resume shutting off delinquent water accounts on July 14 after suspending disconnections months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

City staff have identified about 3,200 delinquent accounts, with an average unpaid balance of about $300, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

The city is sending post cards to delinquent account holders requesting they contact the city if they believe they will have trouble paying their bills, Dickstein said.

The city can refer citizens to agencies that have received federal CARES Act funding to help cover utility bills, she said, adding that the city’s call center can be reached at 937-333-3550.

“They may be eligible to receive funding assistance,” she said.

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On March 13, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley suspended water service disconnections to try to help people who could not pay due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The city continued sending shut-off notices, but customers were told their service would not be impacted until disconnections restarted.

That happens on July 14.

City officials say customers who are behind on their bills should reach out to the city’s call center.

They may be eligible for payment assistance from community organizations, or they may be able to get on a payment plan, Dickstein said.

“We know that some of our citizens are really struggling, and we want to help them as much as we can,” she said.

Water charges are important because they pay for utility operations, debt service for capital projects and future investments, she said.

“We aren’t collecting this just to grab a bunch of money,” she said. “It’s really for us to manage the utility as best as possible.”

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The city of Dayton has about 2,700 delinquent accounts that owe about $600,000 in unpaid charges, said Lisa Stempler, president and CEO of Miami Valley Community Action Partnership (CAP).

The partnership is working with Montgomery County to finalize its rent and utility assistance programs, Stempler said.

Miami Valley CAP will receive about $5 million in CARES Act money for rental assistance, but it’s unclear how much will be available for utility assistance, she said.

“We are hoping it is considerable,” she said.

Payments can be made through the mail, online at paydaytonwater.com or by calling the call center.

Cash payments can be made at Family Dollar and CVS stores, and in-person payments resume at City Hall on July 6. Visitors to City Hall, located at 101 W. Third St., will be required to wear face coverings to enter the building.