SUGAR LAND, Texas – The Sugar Land City Council recently approved steps to help residents impacted by last week’s winter storm. The city plans to provide several relief options, including adjustments to high-usage water bills.
“Residents of Sugar Land have endured conditions no one should have to experience during the past week,” said Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman in a release. “Many have sustained damage to their homes and businesses and are facing extensive repairs. The ordinance we approved is intended to help our residents and businesses through the recovery process.”
Water bill adjustments
To request an adjustment for water bills, residents must provide documentation of a leaking or broken pipe, according to the city. The adjustment will only be made to water and surface water charges.
Residential wastewater charges are a fixed amount based on a customer’s two-month winter average and therefore are unaffected by a leak, per the release.
Calculations for 2021 winter averages will be based on last year’s average to ensure excessive water usage related to the recent winter storm doesn’t create higher than normal winter averages, according to the city.
Officials said residents may request a review of their accounts if they believe their 2021 average is lower and use the lower of the two for billing purposes.
Unusually high bill?
Officials said customers who are on automatic bank drafts and received an unusually high bill should contact the city as soon as possible to avoid having large payments drafted from their account.
Residents may also request a payment plan if they encounter financial difficulties. Payment plans allow customers to pay the outstanding balances over a longer period along with current charges with no further penalties or disconnection.
Permit and inspection process
Additionally, Sugar Land officials announced that the permit and inspection process is being streamlined to allow faster repairs to damaged homes and businesses while still providing an inspection process to help protect residents and businesses by ensuring all appropriate codes are followed.
This will include the following items through May 1:
- Permit fees for repairs needed as a result of the winter storm will be temporarily waived.
- For repairs requiring a permit and inspection, inspections can be conducted in-person or virtually or even through the submittal of photo documentation to expedite the inspection process.
- Homeowners completing repairs on their homestead won’t need to have the homestead exemption form notarized as part of the permit process.
- Contractors registering with the city to perform repairs related to the winter storm will have their annual registration fee waived.
- Food establishments with damage repairs can have construction and pre-opening inspection fees waived.
Residents with utility billing questions, including an adjustment request, the use of this year’s consumption for the wastewater winter average calculation, or payment plan discussions, are asked to contact Treasury Management at 281-275-2750 and speak with a customer service representative.
To learn more and to read the full ordinance approved by City Council, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/RecoveryResources