Opinion: Unfold the phrase – Maine has cash to assist with lease and utilities

The state of Maine has already helped more than 9,000 families stay in their homes and keep the lights on by putting $ 46 million in federal rent aid into the hands of Mainers who need it.

We allocated housing aid faster than any other state except five, according to the US Treasury Department.

But Maine still has more than $ 150 million in federal dollars in a bank account (more to come with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act), and it’s just got easier for families who depend on that money.

Under the new MaineHousing entitlement standard introduced this week, assistance with paying rent and utilities is now available to anyone who has faced financial difficulties during the pandemic, not just those who can prove their plight is right through that caused COVID-19. The qualified can now take advantage of more help over a longer period of time.

Families with household incomes up to 80% of the local median are eligible – up to $ 71,950 per year for a family of three in Cumberland County.

People can apply to MaineHousing.org.

These changes and this support are particularly important right now, as the The federal moratorium on eviction ends. Last week, the Biden government temporarily extended the moratorium, but only in counties with high COVID-19 case rates, a measure that fluctuates daily.

Maine has seen one before Increase in evictions how the state courts have reopened in recent months.

With the money there and the red tape cut, the biggest problem now is making sure Mainers know that help is available. If you or someone you know has had trouble paying rent or utility bills, visit MaineHousing.org To ask for help. Even if you were previously rejected, even if you thought you earned too much or did not meet the requirements, you can now be eligible.

The purpose of this funding is to minimize disruptions in people’s lives, especially children, and also to act as a stimulus – an economic boost for individual families and the economy as a whole in an uncertain time.

Let’s get the word out and make sure these resources are used where they can do the most good.

Photo: tom.arthur, Creative Commons via flickr

Metropolis prioritizes utilities, broadband with federal aid cash – The Suffolk Information-Herald

Rainwater, water and wastewater infrastructure improvements and broadband projects have been identified as the city’s priorities with the roughly $ 30 million it will receive from the US rescue plan.

The city will receive the money in two payments – $ 15 million it received about two weeks ago, and another payment of roughly the same amount in late June 2022. It has until December 31, 2024 to fully pay the money to bind a specific purpose. and must be completely used up by December 31, 2026.

It has identified $ 20.5 million projects to improve sewers, water supplies and drainage in Oakland, along with water and rainwater improvements in the Williamstown area and rainwater improvements in Pughsville, Pleasant Hill and South Suffolk.

The city is also proposing spending $ 8 million to improve the city’s broadband infrastructure – $ 5 million from a regional effort by the Southside Network Authority to build Phase I of the regional connectivity ring and $ 3 million for broadband expansion on the last mile in rural areas of the city.

“The $ 3 million component that we understand is eligible,” said Deputy Interim City Manager Kevin Hughes, “we would take the existing infrastructure and expand it to neighborhoods and parts of the city that are not currently (served ) become.”

The city is also proposing to spend $ 1.5 million to support nonprofits that have and continue to support residents negatively affected by COVID-19.

City Treasury Director Tealen Hansen and Hughes set out the parameters of how the city could spend its share of federal funds during a city council working session on July 7.

Hansen said the city could spend the money on five categories – in support of the public health response to COVID-19; Address the negative economic impact on workers, families, small businesses, affected industries, and public sector re-employment to address the loss of public sector revenue during the coronavirus pandemic; Bonus wages for key employees; and sewer, water and broadband infrastructure.

ARPA money may not be used as a non-state matching fund unless specifically authorized, general economic development and infrastructure projects, extraordinary contributions to pension funds, payments for debt service, legal settlements, deposits in Rainy Day funds and general economic development or human resource development activities, unless they deal directly with negative effects of the pandemic.

In Oakland, Hughes said the city will try to expand the sewer system and move residents away from private sewage treatment plants without impacting sewage charges. The water infrastructure project there is part of plans to complete an earlier Capital Improvement Program and Plan project by replacing an older 2-inch water pipe with a 6- and 8-inch water pipe to also improve the water supply for residents and firefighters without affecting the rate.

The rainwater improvements in Oakland would include an improved drainage system to reduce flooding.

City manager Al Moor said potential savings could be made if the work on the Oakland projects were combined by tearing open roads just once to get the job done.

In Williamstown, the city would replace an older 2-inch aqueduct with an 8-inch aqueduct to upgrade water and fire service and improve the drainage system there.

Hughes said in Pughsville that since it is served by an older trench drainage system, the city wants to accelerate an improved drainage system there and accelerate the work proposed with CIP money in fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

Like Pughsviille, the Lloyd Place and Rosemont neighborhoods along with those in Pleasant Hill and South Suffolk have an older ditch drainage system 10 years old. She wants to use the federal funds to accelerate the improvement.

“If we take an existing project that we have on the books and that takes up space in the CIP in our current funding that we are now replacing with federal funding, the next one is CIP,” said Hughes, “We are starting to develop new locations and improve service in other parts of the city. And so it really has the ability to add and create new projects.

“While getting that $ 30 million in the middle of the year is really exciting, it will allow us to have bigger legs, another $ 30 million or $ 20 million in other parts of the city. I think there is a great opportunity if we also look at the next CIP to introduce new locations for improvement. “

The $ 23.8 million fiber ring phase I cost of the regional broadband project would be shared equally among the agency’s five members – Suffolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The ring of the network will eventually be connected with transatlantic submarine cables and the network ring will serve as the backbone of the South Hampton Roads digital ecosystem.

Hughes said the agency’s lawyer determined that the project’s “middle mile” distribution was eligible for federal money and, if approved, would be completed by December 2023.

The council decided to schedule public hearings for July 21st to amend the current operating and capital budget to accept and use federal funds. Moor said city officials would continue to orientate themselves on project costs, the schedules for the proposed projects, and other details about them.

“What we have looked at here is a start,” said Moor, “these are some projects that we have had for some time.”

Council members generally supported the city’s spending plan for the ARPA money, but said they wanted more details and a copy of the proposed ordinance.

Alderman Lue Ward said he wanted to know how much money is needed to complete projects and how long those projects will last.

Councilor Roger Fawcett said $ 3 million for broadband “doesn’t even scratch the surface,” while Tim Johnson said there needs to be more discussion about broadband, as well as 5G with Verizon and other providers, and what the city itself is doing can to do this in your own system.

“We have to make sure we hit the whole city with this thing,” said Johnson, “and everyone in this city benefits ($ 30 million).”

Mayor Mike Duman said, “I think it is a very fair and prudent use of the funds that will have an immediate impact on some of our underserved communities.”

How Sacramento area utilities are serving to residents get monetary savings

Here are some programs that can help you save the most money while helping the environment.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA. – After this Department of Water ResourcesSnow cover in the northern and central Sierra is again low, making this the third driest year in the state.

Everyone can do their part to help save water in California. Here are some programs that can help you save the most money while helping the environment.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY

Sacramento County Water Authority (SCWA) offers a voluntary discount program for modifying existing grass or turf with native and drought tolerant landscaping.

Customers can receive up to $ 1,000 per household.

PLACER COUNTY

The Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) offers a variety of discount programs to help homeowners install new and more water efficient home appliances.

The discount programs include:

  • Discount for irrigation efficiencies – Residents can get up to $ 500 off when they upgrade existing ground irrigation systems with new high-efficiency equipment or install an EPA Water Sense-approved weather-based irrigation controller.
  • Lawn replacement discount – Residents can get up to $ 500 discount for converting water-thirsty lawns to water-efficient landscaping.
  • Discount program for highly efficient toilets (HET) – A new toilet can help you save water and make some money. Residents can get up to $ 100 off a toilet when they replace old toilets with new, highly efficient ones.
  • Highly efficient discount program for washing machines – Get up to $ 150 off when you replace an old laundry washing machine with a new, heavy-duty machine.

ROSEVILLE

The city offers a discount program similar to Sacramento County Cash for Grass program. A resident can convert grass into a water-efficient landscape for a discount of up to $ 1,000 per address.

WEST SACRAMENTO

The city of West Sacramento has a huge list of tips and discount programs available to save water as well Lower your water bill. The programs include:

  • Smart Irrigation Controller Discount – The city is offering $ 150 to replace your existing traditional irrigation controller with a “smart” irrigation controller. These controls use local weather reports and landscape conditions to change the irrigation schedules.
  • Water wise home visit – Not sure whether your landscape is drought-friendly? Would you like more information on how to use water wisely? The city offers residents a free overview of their landscape, as well as an indoor installation manual and landscape guide.

EVERY FOREST

The city of Elk Grove is part of the Sacramento County’s water rebate program. Rather than offering their own discount program, residents can contact the Sacramento County Water Agency to participate in the program.

There are also strict watering days to save water in the moose grove. Residents can click here to view the watering schedule for their address.

SACRAMENTO

The city of Sacramento There are several ways to help residents save water in their homes. The programs include:

  • Turf conversion discounts – Residents can receive up to $ 3,000 to replace their lawns with low-water-consuming crops and drought-tolerant landscapes.
  • Smart controller discount – Sacramento is offering discounts of up to $ 400 for installing a weather-based smart controller in their home and upgrading their irrigation system.
  • Rain barrel discount – The Rain Barrel Rebate saves water by storing rainwater during rainy events for dry periods. The city grants a discount of up to $ 150 for the installation of rain barrels.
  • Laundry-to-Landscape Discounts – With this gray water system, the wastewater from your washing machine can be directed into your garden for irrigation. Residents can receive a discount of up to $ 100 on materials required to install the system.
  • Highly efficient toilet discounts – Replace your older toilet with a new high efficiency toilet and get a discount of up to $ 125. However, be sure to do an inspection before removing the old toilet to make sure it is fit for the program. There is no limit to the number of discounts that can be requested for this program.
  • Discounts for highly efficient washing machines – In partnership with the California Water Efficiency Partnership, residents can get a discount of up to $ 125 when they replace a washing machine with a new, highly efficient one.
  • Repeat the loo program – For multi-family residents only within a deprived community, the city is offering a discount of up to $ 250 to replace older toilets.

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