City Council approves ordinance formalizing affordable utility programs and changes to use of utility revenues

March 17, 2020 at 9:59 am

Mesa City Council has approved a new ordinance that formalizes the existing City commitment to utility assistance programs and creates a new utility fund that limits its uses.

"The new ordinance formally affirms the City's commitment to provide assistance to Mesa residents for these essential services, and also affirms that the long-standing transfer of utility revenues into the General Fund is primarily for public safety services in Mesa," Mayor John Giles said.

The utility assistance component of the ordinance will include the following programs:

A 30 percent discount on the water service charge for low income seniors
No electricity or water disconnects during excessive heat warnings
Triples the amount of the delinquent balance to trigger a utility disconnect from $50 to $150
Provides $125,000 in community partnership funds to assist low income customers with utility payments

The new ordinance formalizes the long-standing General Fund transfer of utility revenues for the primary purpose of providing public safety services in Mesa and provides new limits on the amount of the transfer. It allows up to 25 percent of utility revenues to the General Fund for public safety purposes and an additional 5 percent for general use.

Another change with the ordinance involves operating expenses charged to utility, telecommunication and cable companies to use City-owned streets, alleys and other public rights-of-way. Mesa currently has agreements with private gas and telecommunication companies with fees of up to 5 percent of gross revenues. The new law charges 3 percent of gas and electric revenues and 5 percent of the water and wastewater revenues.

The requirements set in the new ordinance take effect July 1, 2020 to coincide with the beginning of the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

Public Information and Communications
Contact: Steve Wright
Tel. 480-644-2069