The City of New Bern will resume certain utility fees that were suspended during hurricane Florence.
Due to the storm’s widespread impact across our area, the Board of Aldermen unanimously agreed in September to temporarily suspend late fees, delinquencies and shutoffs for nonpayment. The Board also agreed to waive new deposits for current customers until mid-November. These actions effectively extended the due date of unpaid bills until such time that the City could recover from the hurricane.
All past due amounts must be brought current by close of business on Friday, Dec. 7. If customers are unable to get caught up or current, they are encouraged to visit the Utility Business Office (UBO) at 606 Fort Totten Drive and speak to a customer service representative about a special storm payment arrangement.
The UBO is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary. However, appointments are encouraged to reduce customer wait time.
These special storm payment arrangements will not count toward the four payment arrangements allowed each fiscal year under the City’s current business practices, but customers must remain current once the arrangement is made.
If the special storm payment arrangement is broken, the past due account balance must be paid in full. Attached is a document reflecting our business practices in regards to deposits and payment arrangements.
Late fees, delinquent fees and shutoffs for nonpayment will resume after Dec. 7. Deposit requirements will resume after Nov. 15. Deposits caused by late and delinquent actions will resume after Dec. 7.
The reinstatement of fees comes more than 80 days after hurricane Florence ravaged New Bern and eastern North Carolina.
“The Board of Aldermen and management staff have carefully considered this resumption of fees after the storm,” said Mark Stephens, City Manager. “We remain sympathetic to the hardships faced by our residents and are implementing special storm payment arrangements to ease the burden on our customers. We appreciate the community’s understanding during this recovery process.”
Utility staff are prepared to answer questions and assist customers with payment arrangements. As a reminder, customers have several options for paying City of New Bern utility bills: online at www.newbernnc.gov, at the Utility Business Office, and at Walmart stores in this area.
George Alsberg, age 103, of Wilmington, was one of the oldest voluntary evacuees of Hurricane Florence. Photo credit: Taylor Knopf
NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS |
That’s the takeaway from a state-compiled list of the adults who died as a result of the catastrophic storm. It shows that two out of three North Carolinians who died during or as a result of Florence were 60 or older, and nearly half were 70 or older. The median age of adults who died during or as a result of the storm was 67, while the statewide median age is 38.3.
“Vulnerable adults are more likely to be impacted because of their social isolation, or not having the supports they needed in areas like transportation,” said Heather Burkhardt, program coordinator at Resources for Seniors in Raleigh.
The list of deaths tied to the catastrophic September storm grew to 39 on Oct. 1, when Gov. Roy Cooper announced two deaths, one of a Pender County man, 69, who fell off a roof Sept. 22 while repairing storm damage. A list supplied by the Department of Public Safety showed that people older than 65 represented:
Six of 11 people who drowned in motor vehicle accidents,
Five of six people who died of medical causes such as cardiopulmonary distress or COPD
A couple, 86, who died in a fire caused by the use of candles while power was out.
Three of the victims were infants and two others did not have listed ages. Of the 34 adult deaths with ages attached, 21 were older than 65.
Perhaps the most poignant death was that of a man, 82, who committed suicide in Carteret County after Florence devastated his home. “Shot self when house condemned,” read the terse DPS account of the death.
Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Adult Enrichment Program (AEP) will host a symposium entitled “Stop the Cravin’!” in an effort to promote substance abuse education, prevention and intervention. This event will take place at Orringer Hall on the New Bern campus from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.
The event will host a diverse panel of speakers from the local health care system, local and state law enforcement and community-based organizations. It will provide statistics for the area, health effects and the science behind the many aspects of addiction, case studies and firsthand accounts from those in the medical field, and law enforcement considerations and viewpoints. There will also be perspectives shared by former addicts, an emergency room charge nurse and a local high school student.
Professional panelists include Kenneth W. Wilkins, Jr., MD, FACP, endoscopist and president of Coastal Carolina Health Care, PA; Matt Knight of the NC Task Force for Safe Schools and NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) branch; and Henry D. Beckwith, PsyD, a licensed psychologist.
Participants will learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid and substance abuse and how to intervene and prevent future addictions. Equipping people with knowledge so they know what to do in such situations can ensure that loved ones don’t become just another statistic.
“I feel that the symposium is important on a level whether the crisis has hit home, whether you are a parent, whether you are an educator or if you are in the trenches of this crisis,” said Megan Johnson, Craven CC’s adult enrichment coordinator. “We all need to have our boots on the ground so we can tackle this as a community.”
The cost for the four-hour event is $20 and CEUs are available for eligible professionals. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. and light refreshments will be served.