Financial assistance to help low-income locals pay wintertime heating bills will be doled out starting next week.
About $575,000 in funding was recently made available by the state. The money will help defray energy costs for some 1,600 households in Macon, officials at the Macon-Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council announced Thursday.
Applicants’ qualifications are first based on income. One-person households must have an annual income less than $21,504. A four-person household must have an annual income of less than $41,340.
A couple of recipients will get checks to cover the cost of firewood, said Jimmie Samuel, the council’s executive director, but the rest -- the vast majority -- will have their payment assistance made directly to utility companies.
He said the funding amounts to about half of last year’s payouts and that this year’s money has been late to arrive because legislation that made the funding possible was slow to get lawmakers’ approval.
Samuel said the delay has “been tough, but we really appreciate the way the public has responded. ... We had a lot of calls, no question, but people were respectful and I don’t think we got cursed out not once this time.”
To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.