Rep. John Katko proposes bill to help low-income families pay water bills
U.S. Rep. John Katko wants to create a federal program that would assist low-income families with paying their water bills.
Katko, R-Camillus, and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Delaware Democrat, introduced legislation that would establish the Low-Income Water Customer Assistance Program. The program would be administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, which would award grants to states or water utilities.
The bill would allow utilities to use the grants to offer financial aid to ratepayers, discounts, hardship relief and water efficiency assistance.
Katko highlighted the need for help after hearing from central New York families that have struggled to pay utility bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's also affected water authorities, which have reported reduced revenues.
Michael Hooker, executive director of the Onondaga County Water Authority, believes that the legislation would help water systems regain revenue and continue their work.