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York City kicks off amnesty program for sewer, water arrears

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
York Water Co. in York City, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York City is accepting applications that could result in the forgiveness of up to 100% of a resident's unpaid sewer and refuse bills.

 Officials say it's the most generous debt forgiveness program in the city's history.

The program, lasting through March 31, comes before York Water Co. takes over bill collection in April. Then, residents with bills 60 days late or more could be subject to water shutoff — leaving homes uninhabitable and condemned.

"If you don't come down here in the next month, you could be facing a possible shutoff of your water," York City Mayor Michael Helfrich said Monday. "And we don't want that happening to anybody."

More:York City offering one-time amnesty on back sewer, refuse payments

Under the new program, a one-time, 100% forgiveness option is available for those who are at or below the federal poverty line and owe $250 or more in sewer and refuse bills.

For example, a family of three with an annual household income of $21,330 or less would qualify under the federal standard. 

For the second option, any individual who owes more than $250 — regardless of household income — can receive 50% forgiveness. The third option offers a 120-month payment plan with 25% off the total money owed.

The program only covers debt accrued through Nov. 1. 

York City has struggled with collecting sewer and refuse fees for decades, averaging a 70% collection rate and accumulating what is now more than $10 million in uncollected fees.

The amnesty program's repayment plans are expected to bring in $3 million in revenue, officials have said.

Those wishing to participate in the program should either go to York City Hall at 101 S George St., call 717-849-5223 or email amnesty@yorkcity.org.

The city will hold extended office hours until 8 p.m. on March 12, March 26 and March 31.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.