By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Some CCWD customers will get a break in their sewer bills, thanks to a new program for those with low incomes.
Calaveras County Water District mailed letters to its 3,500 sewer customers Monday explaining the district's new sewer rate program.
By Thursday afternoon, 40 customers had called to see if they could qualify for the program that will reduce monthly sewer bills by 10 percent, or $4.50 per month.
The Wastewater Ratepayer Assistance Program (WRAP), a first for CCWD, is being administered by the Human Resource Council (HRC) of Calaveras.
At Thursday's CCWD finance and Investment Committee meeting, district Finance Director Julie McManus reported that the large number of calls was encouraging, but that only 5 or 6 met the income and home ownership eligibility requirements of the program.
"HRC and we are creating a list of who is falling out," McManus said. "Then maybe five or six months down the road we'll come back to committee to (refine) eligibility," she said.
McManus said HRC is administering the program because it is a non-profit organization and can therefore accept contributions and grants, which CCWD is counting on to fund the program eventually.
McManus said a form will be mailed to CCWD customers with their bill this month, allowing them to donate to the program.
"We want to get a read on donations," she told the committee and CCWD General Manager John Stewart. "Once we see contributions, we'll come back to the committee to modify eligibility requirements."
Billie Westernoff, director of HRC Community Services said her organization is screening applicants this week, and will mail out application forms next week to those who appear to qualify for the program.
To qualify, applicants must own the house receiving the CCWD sewer service.
They must also meet income eligibility requirements. A one-person household with an annual income of $13,290 or less would qualify for assistance. A family of two with an income of $17,910 or less would qualify. A family of three with an income of $22,530 would qualify. A family of four with an income of $27,150 would qualify.
In June, the CCWD board of directors authorized $10,000 to launch the program.
Westernoff said any donations made to the WRAP program are tax-deductible and should be made out to HRC.