Legal Service for the Older Adults and Emergency Prepareness

Where do you turn when an older adult needs help with a wide range of legal issues? There are several legal services that focus on assisting the more vulnerable elderly population. Priorities include assuring that seniors obtain the financial and medical assistance essential to their well being and stopping financial, physical or psychological abuse of elders. Other services provide extensive community education programs through which elders and workers serving the elderly are educated about elders’ rights and protections under the law.

Elders in Action in partnership with the Multnomah Bar Foundation will explore some of these services in the next topic of our Elder Safety Net Series called:
Legal Services for the Elderly
Friday, May 6, 2016
10:00 am -12:00 pm

Guardian Partners Office, 

10814 NE Halsey, Portland, OR 97220
(109th & NE Halsey St)

Our local panel of experts are:
  • Kristy Wood, Executive Director of Guardian Partners. Guardian Partners’ mission is to prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of older adults, people experiencing disabilities, and children by monitoring guardianships and educating court-appointed guardians and money managers.
  • Kristen McCall, Attorney, Pickett Dummigan LLP.  Pickett Dummigan LLP, Portland personal injury law firm, that bring more than 100 years of combined experience to people in the Pacific Northwest.
Parking available on site. Public transportation on Line 77-Broadway/Halsey. Light refreshments will be provided. To RSVP email here or call 503-235-5474.

Get Prepared for both Long and Short Term Emergencies


Everyone has heard about the threat of a major earthquake on the Cascadian fault but you should also be aware of the hazards of heat emergencies that will be coming as our summers get hotter.
Elders in Action in cooperation of Multnomah County Emergency Preparedness andPortland Fire & Rescue will be doing a training on emergency preparations for both situations on Wednesday, May 11 from 10:00am-12:00pm at Ride Connection (9955 NE Glisan St., Portland OR).
  • Jennifer Masotja from Multnomah County Emergency Preparedness will discuss,“Preparing for Cascadia”
  • Kim Kosmas from Portland Fire & Rescue will focus on “Dealing with Heat Emergencies in Portland’s Rapidly Changing Summers”. 

To sign up please RSVP to Elders in Action at 503-234-5474 or email by clicking here.Space is limited and refreshment will be served.

Welcome To Our New Team Members – Lisha and Jenny

Welcome to Our New Team Members!
Elders in Action is thrilled to announce two wonderful additions to our team!
Lisha Shrestha, our new Civic Involvement Coordinator, will be coordinating our Commission, and will be starting her position on March 1st.  Jenny Sasser Ph. D.  is joining our team as the Age Friendly Program Coordinator on April 1st. Below are short introductions.

Lisha 

Lisha is a native of Nepal with extensive education and experience in conflict resolution and community engagement with Portland’s immigrant and refugee communities. She holds a Masters in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University and a Masters in Human and Natural Resource Studies from Kathmandu University. She has extensively researched and authored chapters on conflict, peace and dialogue, land conflict, migration, food and human security. She is a trained facilitator on intergroup dialogue, a certified mediator and has developed culturally specific training manual.  Her research based article on “Inclusive Land Policy and Human Security in Post Conflict Situation” was supported by Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research: NCCR North-South. She is also the recipient of PSU President’s Diversity Award, 2015.

Lisha’s professional background includes case management and facilitation at Immigrant Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) and commission coordination for the New Portlander Program in Office of Neighborhood Involvement, City of Portland. While at IRCO, she elevated women and elders’ project into entrepreneurial development and into a self-help program for newly arrived folks struggling with self-worth and social isolation. One of her most satisfying moment was when she organized first refugee run mini-farmer’s market at IRCO in 2014.

In her free time, she likes to hike, cook new dishes together with her husband Surya Joshi.

Jenny

Jennifer (Jenny) Sasser, Ph.D. is an educational gerontologist, transdisciplinary scholar, and community activist.

Jenny has been working in the field of gerontology for more than half her life, beginning as a nursing assistant and senior citizen advocate before focusing on scholarly inquiry and education.  As an undergraduate she attended Willamette University, in Salem, Oregon, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; her interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. Jenny’s dissertation became part of a book published by Routledge in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee–Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society.

For the past twenty years she has focused her inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; aging and embodiment; transdisciplinary curriculum design; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and cross-generational collaborative inquiry. Jenny served as Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Founding Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University from 1999 to 2015.  She joined the Marylhurst faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and during the subsequent 19 years was involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners.

Jenny is co-author, with Dr. Harry R. Moody, of Aging: Concepts and Controversies (9th edition) and of the forthcoming book from Routledge, U.K., Gerontology: The basics. Her other ongoing commitments include convening the Gero-Punk Project (www.geropunkproject.org); serving as a conversation facilitator for Oregon Humanities (www.oregonhumanities.org); and offering consulting, workshops and presentations throughout North America.  An award-winning educator, Jenny’s recent citations include the 2012 Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Distinguished Teacher award and a Willamette University Distinguished Alumni award in 2014.

Jenny lives in Portland, Oregon with her dog Happy and near her partner Simeon Dreyfuss. Her daughter Isobel is a Sophomore at Bard College in New York state.

Welcome!

ACTION ALERT!  
Ask Legislators to restore funding to fight elder abuse
Reinstate Gatekeeper funding.

With a rise in community based abuse of the elderly in Oregon, our vulnerable friends and neighbors need help to stay safe and independent in their homes and communities. Advocates are seeking reinstatement of funding for the Gatekeeper program to help lower the rate of abuse and neglect for seniors.

Take a moment today to talk to Legislators – Help protect seniors in our communities. Reinstate funding for the Gatekeeper program.

If you care about this program, you can let your Legislators know:
  1.  The Gatekeeper program is a research based, proven program to lower abuse and neglect.  O4AD is recommending the reinstatement of funding for a program that was up and running during 2013-15 and is working to remain in a very limited capacity now.
  2.  We are in an age of increasing elder abuse.  A senior who is abused is 3 times more likely to be admitted to  hospital care and 4 times more likely to be admitted to care in a nursing facility. The cost to healthcare systems, to long-term care systems and, to communities is tremendous. Educating our community about how to help makes financial sense.

  3.  The Gatekeeper program is a cost effective, community based, abuse prevention program that maximizes community resources.  This is a small investment to increase our communities overall response to abuse.

Download our one pager on the Gatekeeper program HERE.

And download our one pager that talks about the cost of abuse and the importance of elder abuse prevention HERE.

Take a moment to contact members of Ways & Means to ask for their support.
Co-Chair for Ways & Means members are:
Senator Richard Devlin, Co Chair, Ways & Means Full Committee
Representative Peter Buckley, Co Chair, Ways & Means Full Committee
O4AD,  Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Disabilities ,is committed to promoting the independence, dignity, choice, quality and safety of Oregon’s seniors and people with disabilities.

Have you ever received a letter, an email or a phone call and thought “hmmm…that’s unusual”?
If you have, then you have taken the first step towards protecting yourself from financial fraud.  Join Elders in Action in partnership with the Oregon Department of Justice and Clackamas County for a fraud prevention panel called “You Have the Power to Protect yourself and your friends”.
This event will be held:                
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 
 1:30 pm -3:00 pm
Milwaukie Public Safety Building
3200 SE Harrison, Milwaukie, OR   97222 
Come join our panel of experts:
  • Ellen Klem, Oregon Department of Justice
  • Tami Black, Clackamas Adult Protective Service
  • Officer Kevin Krebs, Milwaukie Police 
  • Bob Magee, Elders in Action Personal Advocate
Learn how you can avoid the latest scam, what to do if you see something suspicious and how you can stop future abuse in your community. Our panel will discuss current trends and what is being done to pursue the perpetrators. You have the Power to Protect yourself and your loved ones. Come join us and learn from the experts.  For more information call Elders in Action at 503-235-5474 or email info@eldersinaction.org .
Sponsored by: 

Did you know you may not have to pay the Portland Arts Tax?
 
You can file for an exemption if:
 
  • Your only taxable income was less than $11,770 in 2015.
  • You are over 70 years old and meet income guidelines.
  • You are permanently disabled and meet income guidelines. (New exemption)
Need help deciding what form to fill out or assistance completing the form?  Contact Elders in Action at 503-235-5474 or email here.

Tickets Are Now Available

Elders in Action’s 2016 Legislative Priorities

The Elders in Action Commission is a group of committed, passionate volunteers who advise and advocate on issues of concerns to older adults. If you care about elder issues give us a call at 503-235-5474 to learn more. The Elders in Action Commission have identified the following bill as their top priorities for advocacy during the 2016 legislative session.
1)  Restore Gatekeeper Funding
The Commission in partnership with the  Campaign for Oregon’s Seniors & People with Disabilities would like to see funding in the amount of $850,000 restored to the Gatekeeper Program for the remainder of the biennium.
The Gatekeeper Program is a crucial community abuse prevention program that trains front line customer service workers who have contact with vulnerable individuals to recognize changes in those people that may indicate abuse, neglect, or a need for service referral. The value provided by this preventive, cost-effective program far exceeds its minimal cost.
 By the Numbers:
 Since the Gatekeeper statewide initiative began in 2014:
  • Over 800 businesses and organizations have hosted trainings.
  • Over 8,600 individuals have participated in Gatekeeper trainings.
  • Over 2,100 Gatekeeper calls have been received by Aging and Disability Resource Centers across the state.
  • Over 400 of those calls were referred to Adult Protective Services for suspected abuse or neglect.
 Organizations and individuals trained as Gatekeepers are critical in lowering the incidences of abuse and neglect for seniors and people with disabilities.

2) Housing funding and policy enhancement bills
A variety of bills will be considered that will support tenants’ rights, expand local governments’ ability to incentivize affordable housing and increase funding for affordable housing development in the state. Major bills include a bill sponsored by Senator Dembrow that would lift the state ban on Inclusionary Zoning and Representative Keny-Geyer’s Housing Relief Act which would, among other things, increase the notice period for no-cause evictions and rent increases, and prohibit rent increases during first year of tenancy. Also in the mix are budget requests of $27.5 million for preserving existing affordable housing and developing additional units.
3)    General Assistance 
This would fund general assistance for the state’s lowest income residents. Financial support would be provided to those waiting for pending Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Income. This has not been funded since 2005.
 
4)    Basic Health Plan 
This bill would provide a healthcare insurance framework, based on the Oregon Health Plan model, to individuals between 138% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.  It would provide reasonable premiums and co-pays for this lower income population.
 
5)    Raise the Minimum Wage
This legislation would set dates by which specific minimum wages would be required in various parts of the state. Lower minimums would be likely in the more rural parts of the state. At $9.25, Oregon’s minimum wage is the nation’s second-highest, behind only Washington’s $9.47. Any action by the Legislature would probably make Oregon’s the highest, possibly by a significant margin.

Elder Abuse Prosecutor Funding

Elders in Action also supports Attorney General, Ellen Rosembaum’s request for funding for an Elders Abuse Prosecutor. Reports of elder abuse have risen significantly over the past several years and the capacity to prosecute these cases has been low. These funds would support a resource at the state level that would provide technical, legal and educational support to Legal staff throughout the state.  This bill is a major priority for Elders in Action so you can expect a call to action sometime during the 2016 session.

Join the Elders in Action Commission

Help Give A Voice To Older Adults

in Multnomah County

Join the Elders in Action Commission

Do you:
  • Live in Multnomah County?
  • Have a passion for positive change for older adults?
  • Want to enhance the equity of programs and resources available to older adults in the County?
  • Enjoy meeting people and advocating for policies and programs on a City, County and State level?
Elders in Action welcomes volunteers of all ages from all ethnic, racial, gender, and cultural communities.
Elders in Action Commissioners Make A Difference!
The team meets once a month as a full commission. Members also participate in subcommittees and partners organizations.
Contact us today at 503-235-5474or email here
 
Check out Elders in Action’s other volunteer opportunities by clicking here.

Join us in honoring the legacy of Dr. King through meaningful service to our community
 “Everybody can be great… 
because anybody can serve.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Help celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Elders in Action and  Friends of Treesto plant native trees and shrubs in the King City Community Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend. No experience is necessary!
MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2016 8:45 AM-1:00 PM
LOCATION: 15300 SW 116th Avenue
King City, OR 97224 – 2693
Friends of Trees and Clean Water Services are continuing their efforts to enhance wetland vegetation in King City Park, which is adjacent to the Tualatin River.
To register call Mark at 503-595-7533 or click here to email.
Only 10 spots remain, call today!
If this project doesn’t work for you?  Don’t give up!
For the ninth year in a row, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and Hands On Greater Portland are teaming up on MLK Day to make it easy for you to take action across Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Clark Counties and make a difference through volunteer service. Click here to find many other projects in your neighborhood.

EiA Commission – How’d we do in Salem this year?

 

The Legislative Session ended in June and the Elders in Action Commission was pleased with the results. While not all the bills the Commission advocated for passed, many did very well:

 

CARE Act (HB 3378)    Proponent:   AARP

The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act will provide a patient admitted to the hospital an opportunity to name a family caregiver who is recorded in the medical record; alert the family caregiver prior to the patient being discharged; and provide the family caregivers a live demonstration on how to perform post-discharge care.

Senior Property Tax Deferral   

Proponents:  Multnomah County

Modifies the eligibility requirements to better reflect the goals of the program.

Earned Sick Leave  (HB 454)       
Proponent: Family Forward Oregon, Multnomah County

Requires employers to let employees earn sick days to recover from illness and take care of sick kids without losing critical income or their jobs.
Ban the Box  (HB 3025)  

 Proponents: Urban League of Portland, Oregon Action and AFL-CIO
Would eliminate job and housing discrimination against people with arrest and conviction histories by “banning the box”, or prohibiting the placement of box on job and housing applications that requires applicants to mark “yes” if they have ever been arrested or convicted.

 End Profiling   (HB-2002)

Proponent:  Center for Intercultural Organizing

Prohibits law enforcement agencies and officers from profiling based on specified personal characteristics or circumstances of individuals, except when tied to a specific suspect description or credible information related to criminal incidents or activity.

Inclusionary Zoning  (HB 2564)   
Proponent:  Coalition by OPAL

This bill would have repealed the existing ban on inclusionary zoning in Oregon. Inclusionary zoning or inclusionary housing, as it is also known, is a land use practice that requires affordable housing units to be built along with market rate housing, typically in new developments.

Raise Minimum Wage 
(HB 2009/SB 610) 
Proponents:   15 NOW Oregon
Would raise Oregon’s minimum wage to $15.00/hour for most workers by January 2016. Businesses with less than 10 employees would be eligible for a two year phase-in process where the minimum wage would rise to $12.50 per hour in 2016 and to $15 per hour in 2017.
Other Good News…. The Legislature approved $60 million for housing programs, $40 million; will go to support housing for low income families and $20 million will create housing for people with mental illness. Another $2.5 million in lottery backed funds was approved to preserve affordable housing.

 

July 30th, 2015 – Medicare Turns 50

Medicare-50th-PIE-logoJuly 30th, 2015 – Medicare Turns 50!

This year marks a half-century of Medicare: America’s universal, public health plan for seniors age 65 and up! Patients like Medicare better than private health insurance, Medicare provides better financial security than private health insurance,  and it’s cheaper and more sustainable for society.

Join us on Thursday, July 30th from 11:30-2:00pm at Terry Shrunk Plaza (SW Madison St, Portland, OR 97204) to celebrate.

  • Enjoy music by the Raging Grannies 
  • Hear from:
    • Senator Michael Dembrow
    • Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler
    • City Commissioner Nick Fish
  • Refreshments will be available.

Elders in Action is partnering with AFSCME, HCA-O and SEIU retirees to coordinate this Medicare Birthday celebration

 

Join the experts on elder fraud prevention in Hillsboro on June 24

Have you ever received a letter, email or phone call and thought  “that’s unusual”?
If you have, then you have taken the first step toward protecting yourself from financial fraud.
 
Elders in Action in partnership with the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Protection and the City of  Hillsboro are hosting a fraud prevention panel called Power to  Protect 
Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
1:30 – 3:00 pm

750 SE 8th Ave, Hillsboro, OR 

Come join our panel of experts:
 * Ellen Klem – Oregon Dept of Justice 
* Detective Pat Brady – City of Hillsboro Police Dept. 
* Marcia Langer – Washington County Sheriff Office 
* Giberto Pena – EiA’s Personal Advocates 
*  Barbara Bernstein EiA Exec. Director 

Learn how you can avoid the latest scam, what to do if you see something suspicious and how you can stop future abuse in your community.  Our panel will discuss current trends and what is being done to go after the perpetrators. You have the Power to Protect yourself and your loved ones.

Come join us and learn from the experts!

 

Oregon is counting on your voice! 
The Oregon State Legislature is in its final days of the 2015 session and now is the time take action for housing! Your State Legislators and the Co-Chairs of our Ways and Means Committee (Senator Devlin andRepresentative Buckley) need to hear from you that housing is Oregon’s priority.
Please take 10 minutes out of your day and make 4 phone calls or send 4 emails. Tell Oregon leaders why housing matters to you and ask them to invest in housing for Oregonians with the Governor’s $100 million and robust funding for our emergency housing funds: EHA and SHAP.

First Congregational 
United Church of Christ 
1126 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Sunday, July 5, 2015
3PM – 6PM

gaystory2

 

  • Free Performance
  • Q&A with Storytellers
  • Light Refreshments
  • Live Music

You are cordially invited to Silver ~ A Night to Remember

We hope you will join us to celebrate
Elders in Action and to help us create a future
in which every age is the best one!
Enjoy an Auction, Great Food, Music and Friends!
Fundraising Event, May 8th, 2015
Tiffany Center, 1410 SW Morrison St., Portland
 
Looking back with pride and forward with confidence. 
It will be a night to remember!
For more information about sponsorships,

or learn more about Elders in Action please call 503-235-5474 or email..

 
Sponsored by:

 Join the Campaign for OREGON’S SENIORS and PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES for a DAY AT THE CAPITOL!
Join us to advocate for Oregon’s home and community-­-based services and the overall long-­-term care system at the Capitol in Salem!
When: Thursday, April 23rd – 8:00am -2:30 pm
Where: Oregon Capitol Building, 900 Court St. NE, Salem, OR . To participate, please register online or call toll free (877) 926-­-8300

Help make Multnomah County more age friendly!
Even if you missed the live Age Friendly Multnomah County forums*, you can still watch the presentations from the forums and help guide county policy and service delivery by taking the Age Friendly Forums survey. Your input is valuable as it will be presented directly to the county department management, as well as to the county commissioners during current and future Board of County Commissioners meetings.
*The live forums in Gresham and Portland featured presenters from the Departments of Health and Human Services who described the current status of county age friendly services and their hopes for the future.

Are you eligible for a permanent exemption from the Arts Tax?

CITY OF PORTLAND OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND FINANCE
BUREAU OF REVENUE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 19, 2015
Contact: Thomas W. Lannom  Revenue Division Director (503) 823-5154

Reminder: $35 Arts Tax Payment is Due April 15
The City of Portland Revenue Division is now accepting payments for the Arts Education and Access Income Tax (“Arts Tax”) approved by Portland voters in 2012. The annual tax is due on April 15 and is $35 for most Portland residents. Last week the Revenue Division began sending 142,000 Arts Tax reminder e-mails to Portlanders as the first step in a planned series of notifications.
Portlanders can file and pay the $35 Arts Tax online at www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax by selecting “File/Pay My 2014 Arts Tax.” It takes most people three to four minutes to complete the payment process and receive an e-mail receipt.
“It is our hope that many Portlanders will choose to file and pay online,” noted Revenue Division Director Thomas Lannom. “Paying online is fast, easy, green, and keeps administration costs low so more money flows to schools and arts organizations,” he added.

There are four other ways to file and pay the Arts Tax:
1) Taxpayers can file online and choose to pay by mailing in a check with a voucher they can print out from the website.
2) New this year, the Arts Tax form is available in leading tax preparation software products like H&R Block and TurboTax (starting March 5).
3) Taxpayers can pick up a paper tax return by visiting our office at 111 SW Columbia Street or their local library or neighborhood office beginning in March.
4) Taxpayers that have not filed by March 2 will receive a paper tax return in the mail. Filing online before March 2 removes the taxpayer from the list to receive a paper form which reduces program administration costs.

Also new this year:
1) A Permanent Senior Filing Exemption Program. Qualifying taxpayers 70 years
old or older with only non-taxable income (for example, Social Security, Federal Employee Retirement, Oregon Public Employee Retirement, U.S. Treasury interest) OR income below the 2014 federal poverty-level can request a permanent senior filing exemption. For more information call the Arts Tax helpline at 503-865-4ART (4278). A downloadable copy of the exemption form for seniors is available at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/article/519703.

2) The Arts Tax form is now available in 10 languages at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/66844.  Available languages include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Laotian, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

The Arts Tax funds about 70 art and music teachers in Portland area schools as well as local arts organizations through a partnership with the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). Schools and RACC have received a combined $15.5 million to date.

Tax disbursement details are available at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/64767. For a list of arts organizations receiving funding, visit the RACC website at www.RACC.org/AEAFgrants.

Elders in Action’s Commission Worked with the City Utilities to get Monthly Statements

 Monthly Statements Arrive for City Utility Customers

 You asked, we listened! The City’s two utility bureaus, Environmental Services and Water, value excellent customer service. In response to customer requests, we are excited to offer an option to pay monthly – rather than quarterly – to the 97% of customers who are eligible.

 To keep administrative costs down, the monthly statement option was initially limited to paperless (e-bill) customers when it launched in October 2013. When we heard from some customers that the e-bill requirement was a barrier, we began working to remove it. We committed to removing that requirement before 2015, and beat our deadline, launching the free and voluntary program in November 2014. As of Jan. 27, 2015, 13,122 customers are already signed up.

Monthly statements can help our customers manage their monthly budgets and better understand how City utility charges fit into their overall monthly expenses. Customers receiving monthly statements still have their meters read quarterly, but will receive a statement each month. Those customers continue to pay the same total over a three-month period as those who choose to continue with a quarterly bill, in three installments rather than one.

“This option will allow older adults who wish to pay on a monthly basis but don’t have access to electronic billing and payment the ability to do so,” said Barbara Bernstein, Interim Executive Director for Elders in Action. “Our clients have asked for this option for years.”

“Paying for sewer, stormwater, and water services monthly can help Portlanders manage their expenses right now,” said Janice Thompson, the Citizens’ Utility Board’s consumer advocate for Portland public utility customers. “This is an important option that CUB has been pushing for.”

“As Commissioner in charge of the City’s two public utilities, good customer service is one of my top priorities,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “By expanding the monthly billing option, we are making it easier for customers to plan and budget for their water, sewer and stormwater services.”

To enroll in monthly statements, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/utilitybill. To discuss whether monthly statements are a good fit for you, call the Customer Service Center at 503-823-7770 or visit the Service Center in person at 1120 S.W. Fifth Ave., Portland OR 97204.

Monthly Statements History and Fact Sheet

 History of Monthly Statements

You asked, we listened. City utility customers told us that monthly statements would help them to manage their monthly expenses, and we developed this option to meet that need. To limit administrative costs, the City introduced a monthly statement billing option for paperless (e-bill) customers in October 2013.

When we learned that the e-bill requirement was a barrier to customers who wanted to sign up for monthly statements, we worked with staff from several City departments, as well as with our billing company, to expand eligibility. We committed to making this option available before 2015, and launched the free and voluntary program in November 2014. As of Jan. 27, 2015, 13,122 customers are enrolled.

Monthly Statements vs. Monthly Billing

Monthly statements are a great option, helping households manage their monthly budgets and understand how their sewer/stormwater/water charges fit into their monthly expenses. A monthly statement is different from a monthly bill. When a household chooses monthly statements, their meter continues to be read quarterly, but charges are invoiced monthly. Monthly meter reads, which are not currently available for residential customers, also have their benefits. An automated meter reading system could give hourly data, providing households with more frequent information and allowing them to control their usage and proactively identify household leaks. But upgrading to a new meter system would be expensive – approximately $40 million. In an effort to meet our customers’ desire to pay monthly without incurring this cost, we developed this monthly statement option.

What Will This New Program Cost?

Offering this new program comes with a cost. In its first year, that cost is difficult to predict because we don’t know how many customers will choose it. The cost is associated with reaching out to households 12 times a year, compared to just four. Based on an estimate that 10% of households will choose monthly paper statements, we budgeted an additional $246,300 for printing, paper, envelopes, postage and costs associated with processing and returned mail. One way to keep these program costs down is encouraging households to consider the monthly, paperless, e-bill option.

 Who is the Ideal Candidate for Monthly Statements?

The monthly statement option is ideal for customers who can pay a third of their quarterly bill each month, on time. This is especially convenient for customers who also take advantage of City’s auto-pay feature. Monthly statements may not be the right option for customers who require greater flexibility in their payment schedule. These customers are better served by quarterly billing, which allows customers to make payment arrangements and request alternate due dates that work better for them. Quarterly billing is also a better option for customers who sometimes fall behind on payments. We are happy to help you choose the right billing option to meet your needs.