Help is available for Allen County residents affected financially by the new coronavirus.
That was the message today from Mayor Tom Henry, Allen County Commissioner Rich Beck and others who outlined efforts by utilities to work with customers who might have trouble paying bills because of COVID-19.
Fort Wayne City Utilities has suspended disconnections because of non-payment and is offering payment plans, department Director Kumar Menon said. NIPSCO also has stopped shut-offs for residential, commercial and industrial customers who can't pay.
"By working together, we'll get through this and be a stronger and more united community," Henry said.
Beck said commissioners have given a grant to the Allen County Regional Water and Sewer District to offer residential ratepayers a one-time 50% credit on an upcoming residential sewer bill. He, Henry and others spoke at a noon news conference, offering regular updates on the community's response.
Officials also shared results from a recent survey conducted by Parkview researchers that showed nearly half -- 44% -- of Allen County residents could sustain their households for up to two weeks if their incomes were affected from the virus. The survey's results were first released last week.
"Uncertainty in times like these often leads to anxiety, stress and tension," county commissioners said in a joint statement. "By directing our citizens to these resources which can provide assistance, we hope to reduce that uncertainty and stress that we can all pull through this together."