Local News: Astoria City Council approves shutdown utilities waiver for federal employees

The Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to give federal employees a break on their city utility bills until the federal government shutdown is resolved. Joanne Rideout reports. [Time: 1:09]

The Astoria City Council took action at their Tuesday meeting to help ease the financial burden on federal personnel including Coast Guard families, who are struggling as a result of the government shutdown.

Astoria City Manager Brett Estes presented the proposal, which included a waiver of penalties for late payment of city utilities:

Brett Estes:

“This proposal is to waive the late fee and interest charges and to forego sending out shut off notices, holding the service billing until such time as the shutdown is resolved, and federal government employees are able to receive their pay. It’s recommended that the city consider and approve the Temporary Federal Penalty and Fee Waiver Program.”

The council voted unanimously in support of the proposal.

The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military that is not receiving paychecks as the shutdown continues. Astoria is one of about 21 cities nationwide designated as Coast Guard cities because of their large Coast Guard presence locally, and the many military families that are part of the Astoria community.

Local community groups have sponsored various fundraisers and food bank style gatherings to provide support to federal employees and their families.