PUNTA GORDA — Unpaid federal employees living in the Charlotte County utility district will have one less bill to worry about.

With the federal government shutdown approaching historic lengths, the Charlotte County Utilities Department is allowing federal employees to defer payment on their water and sewer bill until one month after a federal budget is approved.

Sarasota County officials had not set up any similar program as of Thursday afternoon.

However, the same opportunity will likely be available to federal employees who are customers of the Charlotte Harbor Water Association, Superintendent Scott Baker told the Sun, upon hearing of the county’s plan.

“If they reached out to us, I guarantee our board would do the same thing,” Baker said.

“There are many people affected by the shutdown. These employees may be in a grey area where they are possibly working without pay and unable qualify for forms of assistance available to others because they are still employed. When families live paycheck to paycheck and it suddenly stops, this can create difficult situations and we want the employees affected by the shutdown to know that Charlotte County cares,” said Utilities spokeswoman Caroline Wannall.

Utilities Director Craig Rudy said the county does not have a count of how many federal employees live in the district, however, given the number of federal jobs sites in the region, the utilities department assumed there would be some.

Anyone seeking to participate in this program should visit the utilities’ Customer Service office at 25550 Harborview Road, Suite 1. Bring your federal identification card or pay stub for verification.

For more information, call customer service at 941-764-4300, or email CCUSupport@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

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