People with past due water and sewer bills in Astoria are going to have to pay as city leaders end certain emergency measures tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

The City Council voted Monday to end the city’s suspension of late fees and service disconnection as the economy reopens and more people return to jobs and normal life.

Water

Astoria draws drinking water from the Bear Creek watershed.

Approximately 40 accounts in the city have past-due balances that exceed 30 days and have yet to arrange a formal payment plan with the city. Letters to these accounts will go out by the end of June informing them of their options to pay the outstanding balance.

Any accounts that haven’t paid in full or established payment plans with the city by late August will have their water turned off at the end of that month and face the city’s usual collections process, City Manager Brett Estes said.

Other cities have resumed normal water billing, Estes noted.

Warrenton resumed water shut-offs on overdue accounts in March. The city had implemented a similar suspension of late fees, penalties and service disconnections to assist people during the pandemic.

But there is a point where the city has to return to normal procedures, Astoria City Councilor Roger Rocka said.

He said he was confident about returning to normal operations because of how the city’s finance department works with people on payment options.

The other councilors agreed.

“I think that our staff works well with people, so we’ll give them the opportunity to catch up and move forward,” City Councilor Tom Hilton said.

Katie Frankowicz is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or kfrankowicz@dailyastorian.com.