Clarksdale Public Utilities unanimously passed two emergency policies in response to the coronavirus epidemic during Tuesday’s board meeting.
The first policy gives customers the option of having the option of obtaining a 60-day extension for their bills if they were struggling financially through no fault of their own. The board also voted to amend the personnel manual to allow CPU general manager Curtis Boschert to change employee shifts during this and any other emergency. The shifts during the emergency would enable personnel to practice more social distancing.
Boschert said customers looking for an extension should communicate with CPU.
“We at CPU are part of the community we serve, and we promise nothing short of maximum flexibility during these unprecedented times,” he said. “This payment-extension policy reflects our commitment to work with customers who are experiencing financial difficulties to ensure they continue receiving utility services.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to serve our customers, and we are confident that these measures will help during these unique times. Even so, we encourage customers who are experiencing financial difficulties to contact CPU to work out payment-extension plans.”
Boschert said he suggested a shift in the personnel manual to help employees avoid getting sick.
“I think these are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures,” Boschert said.
Board attorney David Hunt confirmed the policy could be enforced anytime there is an emergency.
“You’re not adopting a SOP or anything,” he said. “You’re actually amending the policies and procedure manual.”
Boschert said employees would still work as many hours as the past and provide the same services to customers.
“It (amended policy) will split some shifts so we’ll have alternate days to come in,” Boschert said. “One crew won’t be working with another crew.”
Boschert said he is still working on the new shift schedules.
While the CPU building at 416 Third St. will remain open, Boschert encouraged customers to find alternate measures to pay their bills. He said there will be reduced staff inside the building.
Customers may pay bills from their vehicles in the drive-through window or the kiosk and drop box located on the side of CPU’s building at 416 Third Street.
Boschert encouraged customers who mail payments or pay bills on CPU’s online portal, mobile app, phone system or bank draft to continue using those methods.
“Keeping our employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 crisis is our top priority,” Boschert said. “CPU’s office will be open during normal business hours; however, we encourage customers to pay using remote methods, if possible, until further notice.”
More information can be found at http://cdpu.net.