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South Bend forgiving all unpaid utility bills for nearly 5,000 households

Lauren Chapman
IPB News

South Bend is forgiving all outstanding municipal utility bill debts — that includes water, sewer and solid waste pickup — for nearly 5,000 households.

In a Wednesday news release, Mayor James Mueller said the debt relief will provide residents “with a clean slate” as the city ends the moratorium on water shutoffs imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The debt amounts to $3.1 million dollars in unpaid city utility bills for 4,957 households. The relief forgives up to $2,500 for active residential accounts that are more than 60 days overdue as of Feb. 28, with the average amount of debt forgiven standing at $631.

Residents will see the relief reflected on their March or April utility bills. Water shutoffs for nonpayment will resume in June, but the city has also expanded its utility assistance program to provide up to $25 a month off bills for qualifying families.

Formal approval for the relief package will be heard by the Board of Public Works on March 8.

Contact Jakob at or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro came to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.