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The Portage City Council reinstates a senior discount for water utilities


PORTAGE (WKZO) -- The City of Portage is reinstating a 10% senior discount on water utility bills despite a bond council’s opinion that it could violate their agreement with banks and lenders on the bonds that fund the system.

It amounts to a little over two dollars off the quarterly bills of residents over 65, but they figure it adds about $5 to the annual cost for other homeowners to make up the $80 to $90-thousand the program costs.

Terry Urban voted no, saying it should be needs based, not age based.

He says there may be some very well off retired residents getting a break on their bills while a single mom with kids is forced to pay extra to cover the expense.

Restoring the discount was apparently a campaign promise made by several council members and won’t take effect until later this year.

The City Attorney warned that the Bond Council issued an opinion last year that their agreement with lenders included a clause that stated they could not give their water services away for free, and that a discount may violate that clause. 

The Portage Council also began discussions last night on the process to replace City Manager Maurice Evans, who announced his resignation this week.