Staff recommends approval of the changes pertaining to delinquency charges; disconnect notice to be communicated by interactive voice response system, and utility service fee schedule to include a convenience fee charge per transaction.
Penalties: Customers who receive a promissory to pay or voucher from an approved vendor or agency prior to delinquency, shall be exempt of penalties up to 30 days upon receipt of payment. The intent of the change is to provide relief from the responsibility of late fees to those that obtain funding for payment of their utility bill from an approved vendor or agency. The current ordinance does not allow for the removal of those carrying charges.
Reminder Notices: On November 22, 2010 the City Commission approved elimination of paper reminder notifications for delinquent customers. Section 22-263 addresses the process for providing delinquent notification to our customers. The interactive voice response (IVR) system will provide notification by telephone and meet the requirements of due process. Following startup, the first two months will be a testing period where reminder notices and IVR will work in tandem. This will allow staff the time to work on any technical issues associated with implementation. Staff may also extend the simultaneous testing period, if conditions warrant or concerns develop.
Credit Card Convenience Fees: On November 22, 2010, the City Commission approved a credit card convenience fee which has been added to the utility service fee schedule. During the fiscal year 2010-11 budget review process, staff determined the cost of using credit cards as an alternative method of payment of utility bills was climbing at an alarming rate. The cost to the City, which was $33,078.92 in fiscal year 2005, has grown to $161,130.33 or an increase of 487%. Staff believes the underlying reasons for the increase are the extensive reward programs and incentives Credit Card Company’s offer their cardholders. The City accepts the use of Credit Cards as an alternative payment method for the City’s customers. The Credit Card Convenience Fee of $3.95, effective May 1st 2011, is meant to discourage payors which use their card in order to participate in and obtain Card Company reward programs and incentives. The Convenience Fee will not be charged to customers who use their card for recurring payments through the City’s Click to Gov web portal or for customers who make over the counter payments.
1. Approve the ordinance changes relating to delinquency fees and delinquency notification;
2. Approve the resolution changes relating to credit card convenience fees
3. Such alternative action as the Commission may deem appropriate
There will be a slight reduction in revenues associated with late fees which are related to approved vendor or agency payments. Implementation of the IVR solution for reminder notices will provide a reduction in the costs associated with mail and stationary approximating $37,000.00 per year. Collection of Convenience Fees are expected to reduce the costs associated with the acceptance of credit cards as an alternative payment method.
Prepared by: Lori Beach & Jerry Boop_
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Reviewed by: Dept. Head __JB____
Finance Dept. ______JB__________
Deputy C.M. ___________________
City Manager ___________________
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