Coxsackie village officials had to make a choice: Allowing residents under great economic pressure to try to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic or offer some sort of relief that could be shared equitably.

The choice was both simple and remarkable. The village of Coxsackie paid its residents’ water and sewer bills in full for the second quarter of this year in an effort to help people struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. Village residents got messages marked “paid” in standout red letters instead of a second-quarter bill. The decision will save households an average of $150.

Coxsackie Village Hall rightly received an outpouring of gratitude from the community in response to the bill forgiveness plan, which will deduct more than $200,000 from the balance of the village’s water and sewer funds.

The relief plan was developed through prudent fiscal oversight of the village’s water and sewer funds over the last several years, village leaders wrote in a letter to residents.

Village Trustee Joseph Ellis, a retired accountant, proposed the relief plan in late May. Based on Ellis’s fiscal analysis, the village determined it could absorb the cost of paying residents’ bills while at the same time maintaining an adequate balance in the water and sewer funds, which is used to pay for maintenance and upkeep of the water supply.

Mary Millett, a child-care provider, received a letter in the mail informing her that her water and sewer bill of $358 had been paid by the village.

“It was a great surprise,” Millett said.

Millett said her income has decreased as a result of the virus because she is providing care for fewer children.

“To save $358, that means so much to me,” she said, conveying her gratitude to Mayor Mark Evans and village trustees.

Evans acknowledged that many village residents have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

“If we could do something to help, we thought this was a good way to do it,” he said Tuesday.

We most heartily commend Evans, Ellis and the rest of the Coxsackie Village Board for their empathy and generosity in a time of great need.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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