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Water Department may nix in-house credit card payment
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McMinnville Water Department could be shutting off one method of payment to eliminate a $10,000 annual cost to the city.
According to Water Department director Anthony Pelham, their in-house machine that allows people to pay with a credit or debit card needs to be replaced.
Pelham asked city Water and Sewer Committee members if they would like to remove that payment option and save $10,000 in transaction fees the city pays for its customers to use that service.
“The biggest issue with that method is that we eat the credit card fees,” Pelham said. “That number equates to, in the ballpark, of $10,000 per year. From the credit card transactions, we pay the credit card company for handling those transactions from the water and sewer revenue.”
Also offered by the department is an online bill payment option where the customer can go onto the internet and pay their bill using a credit or debit card and, said Pelham, that transaction fee is paid by the customer.
“We have a company that we already contract with to provide our online bill pay,” Pelham said. “If someone pays online, they have to agree to the transaction fee and they are the company that gets that fee for the sake of handling the credit card transaction.”
He asked if officials wished to continue offering the in-house card payment machine, absorbing those fees, or switch solely to the internet service where the customer pays the fee.
“If we are going to continue to eat the fees, then I need to buy a new piece of equipment,” said Pelham.
Alderman Mike Neal asked if those fees could be reversed and paid by the customer, to which Pelham stated that it could as long as the customer is told about the fee and agrees to it.
Alderman Steve Harvey voiced a dislike for transaction fees.
“I will say this, and I’m not on this committee, but there’s nothing that irritates me more than having to pay that fee,” he said.
Alderman Everett Brock is on the committee with Aldermen Mike Neal and Kate Alsbrook.
“I’d rather us get rid of the equipment, get rid of the phone line and do it all on the internet,” said Brock.
Neal stated, “I’m fine with it either way, as long as we are getting away from paying the $10,000.”
Committee members tabled the discussion for further consideration.