The Rolla Board of Public Works acted unanimously at its board meeting to approve $50,000 to fund the Helping Hand Program for families in need of local utility assistance.

Greater Rolla Area Charitable Enterprise will administer the funds to assist Rolla Municipal Utilities’ residential customers hardest hit by the pandemic and in need of financial assistance due to a reduced work schedule or loss of a job. 

The board’s action more than triples the current funds available to assist the local community during the coronavirus  pandemic. 

“We continue to monitor the potential impact that COVID-19 is having on the Rolla community, our citizens and utility operations. We remain committed to assisting the Rolla community in these extraordinary times,” Board President Nick Barrack said. 

The community-owned utility has worked with Greater Rolla Area Charitable Enterprise for over 14 years through their administration of the utilities’ Helping Hand program. 

During the last 14 years, Rolla Municipal Utilities customer's generosity has provided over $85,000 to families in need of utility assistance. Rolla Municipal Utilities General Manager Rodney Bourne said,"Your local utility Board of Directors recognizes the financial hardships during these extraordinary times, and this funding is one way Rolla Municipal Utilities is trying to help.”

Bourne noted that since March 23, Rolla Municipal Utilities discontinued non-payment service terminations through May 1, and waived all future late fees and reconnect fees until directed otherwise. 

Customers with a financial hardship or having difficulty paying utility bills are advised to contact Rolla Municipal Utilities to learn more about options available for assistance. The board said customers can also seek additional financial assistance from Missouri Ozarks Community Action, Greater Rolla Area Charitable Enterprise and the Salvation Army. 

The board encourages local residents to consider contributing to the Helping Hand fund as 100 percent of donations will reach someone in the Rolla community that is in need. Residents who would like to learn more about the program can visit www.rollamunicipalutilities.org, or contact one of Rolla Municipal Utilities Customer Service Representatives. 

The Helping Hand Program is a voluntary program.