Evanston water officials, faced with nearly $500,000 in unpaid customer water bills, will ask a City Council committee Monday for approval to resume water shutoffs.

Water Production Bureau Chief Darrell King says that in the past nearly 80% of customers with delinquent bills paid up once they were threatened with a shutoff.

The city stopped doing water shutoffs at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. That moratorium on shutoffs is scheduled to end next month.

In recent months the city has promoted two programs to assist low-income residents with unpaid water bills. One provides one-time payments of up to $1,500 toward past-due bills. The other offers a roughly 37% reduction in water and sewer rates.

A memo from King indicates that delinquent water accounts are located in every ward of the city, but are most common in the 2nd and 5th Wards.

Nearly 500 of the city’s more than 15,000 water service accounts — or about 3.3% — currently have past-due balances.

Roughly 90% of the overdue bills are for residential rather than commercial accounts.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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