By Sara Nadeau

GRAIN VALLEY, MO – Mayor Michael Todd proposed a program that would offer relief for Grain Valley citizens who are affected by the federal government shutdown at the January 14th Board of Aldermen meeting. The program will allow federal government employees who are not currently receiving pay, due to the shutdown, to place their water and sewer accounts in deferment.

“Public servants perform difficult, sometimes thankless jobs and we want to do what we can to help them through a situation that may be causing a financial strain on them,” said Mayor Todd.

City Administrator Ryan Hunt explained that those affected directly by the federal shutdown will have their accounts placed “on hold” – no late fees will be incurred during the period of the shutdown (or maximum of 6 months). The water & sewer service will continue as usual and will accrue at the same rate. Upon the end of the shutdown, the citizen will be responsible to pay the accrued amount in full or through a payment program.

Alderman Chris Bamman raised questions regarding the possible impact of the program on the City’s finances and overall utility operations. “The program will need limits that would ensure we are able to lock arms with our fellow public servants, without putting any strains on other citizens,” said Hunt.

The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to authorize the City’s finance and administration departments to immediately implement the program with the following specifications:

Citizens are eligible for the deferment program if an impacted federal employee is the account holder or co-account holder

·         Account holders or co-account holders with proof of current federal govt. employment credentials or ID are eligible

·         Account will be in deferment, so City of Grain Valley water and sewer services will continue as normal with the City carrying the balance until the shutdown ends or a maximum of 6 months (July 15, 2019); whichever is shorter

·         While in deferment, no late fees or penalties will be accrued

·         Upon the end of the shutdown or on July 15, 2019, the account holder will have 30 days to either pay the balance due or arrange a repayment plan

“The bottom line to this program is despite our differences, political beliefs or level of government, all public servants work to ensure the quality of life remains uninterrupted within our expected level of service,” said Mayor Todd. “It is because of that commitment to the public and each other, I feel it’s critical that we help each other, whenever it is possible.”

Hunt encourages other entities to consider the hardships the shutdown may present.  “Grain Valley calls on all of our community partners to find a way to lessen the burden to these public servants – we are the safety net for each other,” said Hunt. 

Residents who wish to qualify for the federal employee water/ sewer utility bill deferment program may do so by contacting the City of Grain Valley’s utility billing division, 816-847-6280 or in person at 711 Main Street.