Backus puts the temporary kabosh on commercial evictions in Auburn

  • Friday, March 27, 2020 11:53am
  • News

State and local leaders from Gov. Jay Inslee on down have issued a raft of orders in the last three weeks to support public health and safety in the time of COVID-19.

Six days after Inslee proclaimed a state of emergency to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the state, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus put out her own proclamation on March 5.

On March 18, when Inslee ordered the state to provide residential tenants with additional help and protection, Backus proclaimed a temporary moratorium on residential late payment fees.

But the economic affect of Inslee’s order to shut down businesses where people congregate, such as bars and restaurants, and his Monday, March 23 directive flatly ordering people to stay home, business leaders say, is a blow to the solar plexus of businesses and people.

Including Auburn’s.

On Monday evening, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus signed her third emergency proclamation since March 5, this one following up on the governor’s March 18 order, slapping temporary cuffs on commercial evictions.

Among other things, the proclamation:

•Asks city council and directs staff to help residents, small businesses, tenants and other people in the city affected by the virus by finding opportunities that may include reallocation of funding, new programs, changes to city policies and procedures and temporary changes to certain city codes;

•Directs city staff to authorize the use of payment plans associated with utility billing for customers hit hard by the virus;.

•At the budget director’s discretion, directs city staff to authorize the use of payment plans for other city services, and to allow for the extension of payment deadlines that are established under city code, and not otherwise mandated by state or federal law; and

•Directs city staff to to waive charges for commercial properties requesting temporary shut offs for water utilities to avoid monthly base fees for water, sewer, and solid waste when there is zero consumption and in recognition of economic hardships.

“As soon as practicable I will advise and consult with the City Council with respect to all actions taken under the authority of the proclamation,” Backus said.

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