Residents have a new monthly utility bill payment option, and it comes at no added cost to the city.
© Herald file photo
Last year saw the city‚Äôs elected officials debate whether to begin issuing monthly utility bills, ultimately deciding against it when administration came back with a $277,000 annual cost.
Now, automatic monthly payments are available for city residents interested in equalizing payments over 12 months -- an alternative to paying the bills the city mails out every three months.
‚ÄúIt will make it so much easier for people to manage their household budgets,‚ÄĚ city finance director Joe Day concluded, noting that monthly bills of around $100 will be easier to handle than quarterly bills of around $300.
Water meters will still be read every three months, he said, noting that the new monthly installment payment plan (MIPPS) equalizes payments.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôll be a settling up period in the fall,‚ÄĚ Day said, noting that at this time whatever difference between the expectation and reality of utility use will be paid or refunded the balance.
Quarterly meter readings are expected to remain in place -- at least until council decides otherwise, Day said.
Of the approximately 9,000 water meters city staff deal with, only about 2,500 are radio transmitter meters that can be read from hundreds of feet away on a handheld device.
Although some residents have pin pad meters that can be read from outside of their home, about 4,000 residents still have water meters that can only be read from inside of their homes.
The city hopes to replace all of the indoor-read water meters within the next four of five years, Day said.
The MIPPS program will see automatic monthly withdrawals extract money from residents‚Äô chequing account during the first banking day of each month.
Those interested in signing up for the program can find application forms online at www.citypa.ca, as well as at the financial services department on the first floor of City Hall.
Click HERE for a direct link to the city's MIPPS information page.