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City of Bend offers businesses water, sewer bill assistance

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend City Council Wednesday night approved COVID-19 Crisis Assistance Program - water and sewer bill relief funds to help businesses struggling financially due to lost income from Governor Brown’s “Stay At Home” order.  The city’s Local State of Emergency declaration authorizes the water and sewer bill assistance program.

“The Crisis Assistance Program provides some certainty and immediate relief for businesses in Bend that have been hardest hit by this economic crisis,” said Bend Business Advocate Ben Hemson. “While this program does not address the host of other challenges our business community is confronting, it should provide a small measure of breathing room for those seeking to stabilize their organization before they can begin planning for an economic recovery.”

The city of Bend will soon begin accepting online applications for commercial water and sewer bill assistance to help ease the financial burden to local businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Crisis Assistance Program is specifically designed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide relief funds to businesses ineligible to receive emergency funds through the city’s existing Utility Billing Assistance program (which allows a one-time relief of $150 for single residential households and is based on household income requirements).

The new Crisis Assistance Program for businesses offers a maximum of $500 per request, and will remain in effect during the local declared state of emergency or until the $25,000 in water funds and $25,000 in sewer funds have been exhausted. If federal and/or state assistance programs are established to provide water and sewer bill relief to businesses, this program will be modified accordingly.

The city will develop an online funding application and provide “Frequently Asked Questions” with helpful instructions. These will be available soon on www.bendoregon.gov/bizresources.

Businesses eligible for the funds will need to be current City of Bend commercial water and/or sewer customers whose account was not past due as of March 16. The customer must have a current City of Bend business license.

Priority will be given to food and drink establishments, education or daycare facilities and businesses that are reliant on large gatherings of people.

Online applications will be available in mid-April, with relief funds applicable to current account balances with due dates after March 16.

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