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Austin storm recovery: City waives EMS fees, suspends utility bill late fees

The Austin City Council held a special meeting Thursday to update ongoing recovery and relief efforts.

AUSTIN, Texas — The City of Austin is passing measures to help residents recover from this month's winter storms. During a special meeting Thursday, the Austin City Council passed a number of ordinances related to relief and recovery.

The council ratified and extended Mayor Steve Adler's state of disaster declaration to allow the City to continue accessing State and federal emergency funding following the severe winter weather. The declaration was originally declared on Feb. 14.

Also on Thursday, the council waived fees and costs for people who received help from Austin-Travis County EMS during the winter storms, as well as suspended late fees for Austin Energy and Austin Water bills so that residents can focus on repair and restoration efforts.

City utilities customers are already protected from rate spikes because of the City's fixed rates, set by the council. Learn more here.

The council also passed two ordinances aimed at speeding up repairs for storm damage. The ordinances waive residential permitting and development fees as well as certain plumbing permit requirements.

The fees covered by the first waiver include permitting, plan review, inspection, demolition and variance fees for repair of existing structures only, and do not include fees for re-inspections.

The second ordinance allows building officials to exempt certain plumbing activities from permit requirements normally required under the City’s Plumbing Code. It also extends the deadline to submit a permit application from one business day to five business days from the date the activity starts and waives registration requirements for work regulated by the Plumbing Code.

RELATED: City of Austin waives permitting fees, plumbing permit requirements to speed up winter weather repairs

At the meeting, City Manager Spencer Cronk thanked the community for stepping up to help those in need.

"While our City employees worked to get our critical infrastructure, our power, our water, our roads, our hospitals, police, fire and EMS stations back up and running, so many community members and organizations stepped up to help," Cronk said. "After all, this is Austin. We're a resilient city but, more importantly, we are a caring city. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you."

WATCH: Renters struggling with apartment repairs after winter storms


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