The Town shares news about a recent change to the eligibility guidelines for its utility assistance program.
On Oct. 6, the Friday Harbor Town Council adopted an ordinance amending the Low-Income Senior & Disabled Reduced Rate Program, which offers reduced utility rates for low-income senior and disabled customers. The Town found that some customers were excluded from the program because established income eligibility thresholds were not consistent with this region’s cost of living.
“The Town determined that a program based on 150 percent of the federally established poverty guidelines was leaving out many deserving customers,” says Town Administrator Denice Kulseth. “This amendment trends better with Friday Harbor’s cost of living.”
The program’s income eligibility is now based on a percentage of the annual median household income for Friday Harbor. That threshold is currently 50 percent of the average median income of Friday Harbor, or $26,700 for 2022. The program offers a 50 percent reduction for all utility base rates on participants’ monthly utility bills.
To apply, participants must complete the program enrollment form.
“Running water and access to sanitary sewer is quite possibly the most cost-effective public health tool,” says Mayor Ray Jackson. “Yet when people can’t pay their bills, they lose access to these services at great cost to themselves, their families, and their community.”
In addition to this program or setting up payment plans, the Town encourages any customer in need to seek utility relief through the Family Resource Center or the Town’s Harbor Life Ring program.
“The Town of Friday Harbor is committed to the financial health and safety of our community,” adds Mayor Jackson. “Our hope is that these programs continue to provide some relief for our low-income, elderly, and disabled residential customers.”