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Friday, May 6, 2016

Coming to utility office near you

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Need to pay your Greencastle utility bill, but don't have the extra cash on hand? City officials are again considering a plan to let customers pay their bills using a credit card.

On Wednesday, members of the Board of Public Works agreed to continue exploring the option, but the city council has the final say.

City Clerk-Treasurer Teresa Glenn provided the board with a chart explaining the fees that credit card companies charge businesses to process these types of payments.

The information indicated the city would be charged an average of $1.20 for each credit card transaction. Like other service providers that allow customers to pay by credit card, the city would likely pass that charge on to the customer.

Board members discussed adding a so-called "convenience fee" to whatever the credit card company charges them to process the payment in order to make it worthwhile for the city. They did not settle on a figure but said it would have to be an arbitrary number to start with and it could be adjusted after about a year.

Customers could pay with their credit card by phone or on the Internet, under the proposal, or they could stop by city hall and pay it there.

Glenn said the convenience fee would apply only to people who pay be phone or on the Internet. The credit card companies don't allow businesses to charge an extra fee if customers pay in person.

"In this day and age, I think this is something we have to look at seriously," Glenn said to allowing customers to pay with plastic.

The plan stirred some debate the first time Glenn brought it to the board last year. A lot of questions were raised concerning whether allowing customers to pay by credit card would be financially disadvantageous to the city.

Those concerns seem to have gone based on Wednesday's discussion.

"I think this is a service we should provide as soon as we can figure out how to do it," board member Thom Morris said.

Board members listed the advantages of credit card payments as:

* an obvious third payment option for customers,

* a last-minute way to pay if customers don't have cash,

* quicker processing to benefit the city.

Board members plan to discuss the plan further before nailing down a proposal to take to the city council.

In other business, the board:

* Approved Greencastle Police Chief Tom Sutherlin's recommendation to hire Nick Eastham, a reserve with the police department, as a full-time officer. Officers must first complete a probationary period.

* Approved Street Commissioner Paul Wilson's recommendation to upgrade employee Ricky Long's employment from probationary to permanent status.

The Greencastle Board of Works meets at 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at city hall.

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-- Posted by CastlePirate on Fri, Feb 22, 2008, at 7:19 AM

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