Centerfield CARES money
will go directly to citizens
in $75 credits on utility bills
By Ben Lasseter
CENTERFIELD—In a move to invest in the local economy, Centerfield City will be using federal stimulus money to help residents pay their utility bills.
The council voted unanimously to spend about $33,000 to put $75 into each residents’ utility-payment account.
Mayor Tom Sorensen said it was a simple way to help people in Centerfield during a difficult time in the economy.
“Everyone has to pay their utility bill. It’s fair to everybody,” he said to the agreement of the council and members of the public at a city council meeting last Wednesday.
This funding will come from the CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security. It is a federal stimulus bill that gave money to states to be distributed among cities for pandemic-related spending.
Centerfield used most of the $127,000 it received in three tranches of CARES Act payments to pay its 1/3 share of the 2020 Gunnison Valley Police budget from March 1 through December 31 Gunnison City pays the other two-thirds. Sorensen said the city is still legally obligated to use the general funding money they would normally pay to the police department on COVID-19-related matters.
“We’re excited to give this money back to the residents. It’s COVID-related” because the pandemic “has hurt our community” economically, he said.
He added that renters in Centerfield should also see the $75 benefits reflected in the utility bills they pay via their landlords.
The mayor and council have been discussing ideas on how to spend the CARES money for months.
The utility payment idea was related to an initiative by Santaquin City, which decided to spend 25 percent of its roughly $900,000 CARES award on business stimulus, said Ben Reeves, Santaquin city manager. He helped implement a program of offering each household in the city four coupons worth $10 each to use at local businesses that wanted to participate.
The mayor and council said Centerfield is still considering doing a coupon program like this. Sorensen said the city had already decided to use some of the remaining CARES money to purchase an electric sign to place in front of the new Centerfield City Hall.