Cities Work to Ease COVID-19 Financial Burden
Two northwest metro cities have joined the growing list of municipalities looking for ways to help residents deal with the financial strain of COVID-19.
In its April 13t meeting, the Osseo City Council voted unanimously to waive late fees for missed utility payments for the first two quarters of 2020. Residents will still owe utility payments, but if they’re unable to make them, they’ll not incur late penalties. The council intends to review the penalty suspension before it expires to determine if further waivers are necessary.
The next evening the Plymouth City Council met, and also voted to waive late utility bill fees for the next three months. And the council went a couple of steps further. On recommendation from city staff, the council also voted to reduce interest rates on assessments. Normally, rates are determined based on the current municipal bond rate, plus a 1.5 percent administrative rate. For 2020, that administrative rate will lower to 1 percent. This means top rates for 15-year assessments will be reduced from 3.23 percent to 2.88 percent.
The Plymouth City Council turned toward helping local restaurants as well, voting for a pro-rated refund of liquor license fees until either Governor Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order is lifted, or the state allows restaurants to sell alcohol with takeout or delivery orders.
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Brandon Bankston, Reporting