City to use ARP money to provide water bill debt relief to qualified households


Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on Friday announced that $ 13 million of the city’s US bailout allocation would be used to help thousands of homes pay off their water and sewer debts.

An estimated 30,000 households are in arrears on their water and sewer bills. Brown, appearing at Colonel Ward’s pumping station, announced that many will see debt relief through the continuation and expansion of the city’s water and sewer law amnesty program.

“We will completely write off their debt for the water and sewer bills. So they’re starting with a new slate,” Brown said. “We will help all of these customers participate in our affordability program.”

City officials say qualified households include low-income families and customers who have fallen behind on their bills due to COVID illness. The expanded program will provide debt relief to eligible households with bills that are two quarters past due or in arrears by $ 300. City officials say the debt cancellation also covers interest or fees associated with overdue bills.

“We’re going to be working on automatic enrollment. So we’ll be contacting all of our employees. But for now, if they can call 847-1065, they can be enrolled,” said Oluwole McFoy, president of “That’s as well as our amnesty program was put in place. And now we are expanding it. “

In total, the city of Buffalo receives $ 361 million from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan.

Similar programs have been deployed in Oakland and Louisville. Brown says they have resulted in a 96 percent success rate of qualified customers keeping their bill payments up to date.

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