Survey offers $5 off bill
Feb. 17 is the deadline for Marion residents to obtain $5 off a utility bill by answering a survey contained in bills mailed this month.
But customers who received more than one survey form can’t receive multiple discounts. The forms are coded by account holder to prevent that, city officials said Monday.
The survey is part of an attempt by the city to prove that 51% or more of its households have low or moderate income. Federal statistics list that percentage as 45.98%, not the 51% required to qualify for a Community Development Block Grant.
The city paid Ranson Financial Group $5,000 to conduct the survey but printed and mailed survey forms at its own expense.
A survey is required only if a city disputes figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or if the proposed grant is for a neighborhood that might be above 51% low and moderate income even if the whole community is below.
The survey asks people for their name and address or for a number identification code on the front page of the survey. It also asks how many people live at the address, how many people are unrelated, and how many families live at the address.
It asks for total adjusted gross income for each family.
Interim city clerk Becky Makovec said Monday that city employees would not be able to access information about residents’ income.
To be considered valid, the survey must be completed by at least 51% of households. Ranson’s task will be to follow up and interview enough households to reach that number after the mail-in deadline.
A letter accompanying the survey states that CDBG money would be combined with local money to make improvement to the city’s water treatment plant.
CDBG grants also can be used for such things as hiking trails, splash pads, and sidewalks. The grants require 25% matching money from the city.