Relief fund can cut utility costs by 30%

By Pat Sunderland

One purpose of the question-and-answer session was, in the words of the facilitator, to discuss whether utility rate increases are having a disproportionate impact on citizens with fixed incomes.

During the forum, that issue was also raised by Peggy Baxter, who had been contacted by an elderly resident who was concerned about how she'd be able to pay her water bill.

In response, town administrator Katie Sickles explained the utility relief fund, now in its seventh year. The town council sets aside $1,000 annually that can be used by qualified LEAP applicants to seek 30 percent reductions in their utility bills.

LEAP is an acronym for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, a federally funded program that helps low-income households with winter heating costs. If applicants qualify for LEAP, they qualify for the town's utility relief fund, Sickles said.

She added that the full $1,000 has never been allocated.

More information is available from the town at 856-3123.