City officials move closer to decision on credit cards

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It appears customers of Greencastle utilities will have to wait a little longer to see if they will be able to start paying their monthly bills with credit or debit cards.

Members of the Greencastle Board of Works all but approved the contract needed to put the plastic payment method in place, but they want to see the request back at their April meeting before making a final decision.

City Clerk-Treasurer Teresa Glenn originally brought the proposal because she says customers have requested the service.

"It's a convenience," she said at last month's meeting.

She said allowing customers the option of paying water and sewer bills by credit card would not only be convenient for them, but it would guarantee the city gets its money and in a timely manner.

But board members have been reluctant to sign off on the plan because they want to make sure they understand all the costs the city may incur by allowing the service. Credit card companies charge businesses fees for credit card transactions.

Also, board members wondered, this week, if other city departments, such as the parks department or building department, would like to offer this service to customers as well.

Board member Trudy Selvia said she was concerned that if customers were allowed to purchase food items at the city pool with credit cards, it may wind up costing the city more to process the payments than what they generate in revenues.

"Will they be able to turn over a profit?" she said.

Board member Thom Morris questioned the manageability of the system should other city departments start accepting credit card payments

In the end, board members decided to sign the contract at the April meeting, but they want to do it with the understanding that they review how things are going in six months.

If it turns out that the city is spending what board members deem to be too much money for the service, they could decide to cancel the service.

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