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Nevada Irrigation District Establishes Program to Help Low-Income Residents
Low-income residents in the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) will now have help in paying their monthly water bills, ensuring them access to healthy, clean and affordable water service thanks to a new program.
The NID five-member board directed staff to develop a water-rate subsidy program for low-income residents after NID approved a rate increase for water service that went into effect July 1. The NID Board of Directors unanimously approved the Low Income Rate Assistance Program during its July 24 meeting.
“NID cares about the community and is sensitive to the financial impact that the recently approved rate increases may have on our low-income customers,” said Chip Close, Water Operations manager for NID. “In response, the district is pleased to announce the development of the Low Income Rate Assistance Program to help customers who are having financial difficulties.”
The new NID Low Income Rate Assistance Program affects only a customer’s base rate. Under the new Low Income Rate Assistance Program, qualifying residents’ water bills will be reduced by one-third, from a fixed monthly fee of $26.25 to a revised $17.78. The program will help low-income residential customers living in single-family homes in Nevada, Placer and Yuba counties.
The discount fixed fee for low-income residents is based on the federal poverty scale for the region. The federal poverty level for a three-person household – slightly more than the number of NID customers per connection – is $21,330 per year. In order to qualify for the Low Income Rate Assistance Program, customers must show proof that at least one person living in the household is enrolled in one or more of the following federal assistance programs:
- Medicaid/Medi-Cal for Families A & B
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- CARE, a discount program for electric and gas utility customers
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Public Health say affordable water rates should be one to three percent of annual income. NID officials opted to base its Low-Income Rate Assistance Program threshold at one percent to provide the maximum benefit for low-income customers. NID water rates, even with its recent rate increase, are below one percent of annual income.
NID Board members recently commented on the water district’s rates. NID Board President Scott Miller said the new program “highlights that our rates are so low.” NID Director Chris Bierwagen made a similar comment saying, “It adds another level of argument that the rates we pay are below” those of other water districts.
To participate in NID’s new Low Income Rate Assistance Program customers must file an application and the account must be in the applicant’s name and the applicant must live at the address where the discount is received. Applicants will be notified within three weeks of applying if they are approved for the program which will be is retroactive to July 1 for customers who apply before Aug. 31, 2019. Customers who want to learn more about the program should contact NID’s customer services representatives at: 530-273-6185.