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Beatrice BPW approves water assistance program

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Qualifying Beatrice residents will have an opportunity to save on their water and wastewater bills thanks to a new program approved by the Board of Public Works.

The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program is being administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and will provide $5,988,000 in federal funds to qualifying Nebraska residents with no match required.

During Wednesday’s regular BPW meeting, the board voted to participate in the program.

“We don’t put any money in there, and it is used to help pay for water bills and wastewater bills for families who qualify,” said Tobias Tempelmeyer, BPW manager. “It has to be residential and there’s a lot of ways for people to qualify.”

Tempelmeyer said applications will have to be completed by residents, and some ways to qualify are to be a family of four with less than around $37,000 in income, receive other state assistance, be part of the low income home energy assistance program and to receive food stamps.

“It looks very much like some of the other programs the state has out there today,” Tempelmeyer said. “We’ll simply notify them if we have an individual who we believe qualifies for assistance.”

The funds can only be used for water and wastewater bills. The program will go into effect in early 2022 and last until Sept. 30, 2023 or until the funds are all used, whichever comes first.

Tempelmeyer said the agreement approved Wednesday doesn’t include specifics on how to apply, and more information will likely be available. The BPW can also back out of the agreement at any time with 30 days notice.

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