The Oak House was granted relief for its water bill at Wednesday’s Hancock City Council meeting, even if it was in a different form than what was requested.
The community home serves people with disabilities and is at 19631 Sampson Street, technically outside city limits in bordering Quincy Township. The site is one of roughly 50 customers who are charged more, 1.5x the resident rate, by Hancock’s water system due to their location.
Oak House petitioned the council to be moved to the standard, rather than enhanced, charge. It says the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the organization’s ability to fundraise. Members had a lengthy discussion, with one of the main concerns in granting the request being the precedent it would set. Councilor John Haeussler said it would be hard to honor this particular instance and then turn around and reject the same motion if it comes from other customers outside the city.
In a compromise, the council issued a rebate for 15 months, from April 2020 through June 2021, that equates to a little over $200 per month for the period in question. That would put the onus on Oak House to re-petition the council in the future if they feel the discount is still necessary. Most pandemic restrictions have been lifted statewide in recent months, which should prove a boon for charities and nonprofits.
The measure passed 6-1 with Mayor Paul LaBine being the only no vote.