Local Efforts to Alleviate Shutdown

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Typically, if you don’t pay your utility bill, your services get shut off.

But two local communities are making sure that doesn’t happen to federal employees. Officials say those people have been through enough already.

Brazil’s mayor, Brian Wyndham really paved the way for this effort around the Valley. He’s waiving utility late fees for federal employees.

Sullivan city mayor Clint Lamb followed suit and this was an effort easy for city officials to get behind.

“We don’t want to add problems to somebody’s problems,” Mayor Wyndham said.

Receiving a paycheck for zero dollars is a reality for local federal workers during the goverment shutdown. Mayor Wyndham decided to waive any late utility fees for those workers locally and even come up with payment plans as the situation progresses.

“Typically after two months of being in a rears they pull the meter and the waters shut off and we’re certainly not going to do that,” he said.

Mayor Wyndham says the shutdown hits expected workers especially hard, having to continue going to work with no pay.

“That’s kind of a double hit, that really concerns me.”

Brazil owns its own utilities, so they’re able to waive fees without having to change any city ordinances. Whereas Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett says that’s something he would have to do to exempt fees.

Utilities include sanitary, storm water and trash pick up, same for the city of Sullivan who’s mayor, Clint Lamb implemented the same utility waiver.

“The city slogan in the city of Sullivan is, “take time to care” and that’s what we’re trying to do. We understand it’s not a cure all, unfortunately we can’t make car payments or mortgage payments, but every little bit helps,” Mayor Lamb said.

Mayor lamb also says this waiver will stay in effect until the shutdown is over.

“Many of us, myself included live paycheck to paycheck, especially when you’re trying to raise a family and it’s just tough, so any thing we can do to help, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Mayor Wyndham says federal workers just need to bring in their government letter for proof to waive fees. Terre Haute mayor, Duke Bennett tells me if the city gets requests for this waiver as well, he will take it under advisement and discuss the possibility with the sanitary board. In Terre Haute, this would involve making special ordinances to exempt those fees.

Both mayors of Brazil and Sullivan say there are other community efforts in the works, whether that involves food or necessary items.

Stadler Barber Shop in Terre Haute next to Planet Fitness is also offer free hair cuts for federal workers, they just need to bring in their I.D.

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