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Beverly Wyant and her husband have been living in a temporary home due to a fire that forced them out of their house back in November, 2010. Wyant’s husband is terminally ill and is dependent on oxygen. Because of the needed oxygen, Wyant is also very dependent on electricity to run the equipment that keeps her husband alive.
While Wyant has been dealing with trying to rebuild their home and lives from the fire, they have struggled to make ends meet. Last week Wyant received a notice from the City of Eudora that her power would be shut off if she did not pay the bill by the 21st of February. All utility bills for those served by the City of Eudora are due on the 10th of the month.
Wyant, on limited income, called the city to request a five day extension. Wyant reports that “I was not offered the opportunity to ask for that extension. I was informed that the policy of the city was to disconnect the next morning.” Wyant’s daughter came to her rescue and paid her utility bill to avoid being disconnected.
The policy the City of Eudora adopted in January 2010, states that the city no longer offers extensions past the 20th of the month for utility billing. If you pay your bill after the 10th, a 10% penalty is applied. If the bill is not paid by the 21st, the utilities will be disconnected.
Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein states that “The City Clerk’s office was unaware of the needed life support.” He further added that the city was alerted that the need for hospice care was there, but it was not stated that Wyant’s husband needed oxygen. “We will not turn off power in a life threatening situation.”
The current city policy makes no mention of how life threatening situations can affect or change the cutoff date in regards to bill payment. “In the next two to four weeks, the Clerk’s office will be recommending a procedure to address situations like this.” Harrenstein said. “The policies in place need to be reviewed.”