Burnet City Council approved a residential utility assurance grant program at its regular meeting June 9. The assistance is for residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated unprecedented job losses.
Burnet residents can receive a grant in the amount of 50 percent of their electric, water, sewer, garbage, and recycling service charges incurred during the months of April and May, up to $250. The grant is provided in the form of a credit on their utility bill.
“While it’s great what the federal government has done and the state has done with employment benefits, there are still many who may not have qualified or still have suffered great financial harm that need some help,” said Burnet City Manager David Vaughn. “So we wanted to be able to do what we can to help those that need it the most.”
While it’s easier to see the direct impact of the pandemic on businesses, it’s harder to tell how residents are doing, Vaughn said.
“You do see that unemployment has skyrocketed. Those numbers are starting to come down, but that doesn’t mean those people still aren’t hurting,” he said. “We’ve outlined a program that’s aimed to truly get help to those who need it the most in the community.”
The program is made possible by a refund the city received from the Lower Colorado River Authority’s electric fund and is capped at a total of $25,000. The program will extend through June 30 or until the $25,000 fund is dispersed, whichever occurs first.