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Payment plan available for past-due Spring Hope water customers

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SPRING HOPE — Town utility customers who didn’t pay their water bills during the state’s no-shutoff period now have to pony up for their past-due accounts.

Spring Hope customers have to agree to pay an extra $25 a month in addition to their current bill each month until the account is paid in full.

Town Manager Jae Kim developed the temporary repayment plan for accounts affected during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The board discussed the matter in July. An initial plan was to split overdue amounts into six monthly payments, which fell under Gov. Roy Cooper’s mandates for a moratorium on utility shutoffs for nonpayment. 

Commissioner Brenda Lucas said some residents might need an extended period to pay their past-due bill.

Commissioner Brent Cone agreed, saying that six months might not be long enough for people who suffered a financial hit from the coronavirus and owe large amounts of money.

Town Attorney Mark Edwards said whatever the board decided would be fine as long as the payment arrangements are the same for everyone.

Middlesex Mayor Lu Harvey Lewis and Bailey Mayor Thomas Richards told The Enterprise that nonpayment of utility bills hasn’t been an issue in their towns, even during the coronavirus pandemic.