Utilities board addresses fees

The Utilities Board of the City of Oneonta is committed to providing service at the lowest possible cost to our customers. The Board’s rate structure provides a stream of revenue that is then invested into the system. This investment back into the system, benefits ALL the Board’s customers.

The rate structure tracks and allows for all costs that affect the Board’s water, sewer, and natural gas systems. How-ever, as there are some costs that are not system specific and do not affect customers as a whole, it would not be fair to allocate those costs to ALL customers. Therefore, the Board made the decision to recover the rising costs of debit/credit card processing fees by moving those costs to those customers who utilize debit/credit cards to pay their individual bill. The Board is not “gouging” customers nor are these additional fees a “back door’” effort to raise revenue. These fees are simply a means of recovering costs at the point that the cost is incurred – from the individual responsible for the cost as opposed to spreading them to all customers. If a customer does not want to pay the 3% processing fee, they have the option to pay with cash, personal check, or money order. In addition, the Board offers a bank draft option for no additional charge.

As for the $1 charge, the Board has a cost of approximately $1 in each bill that is mailed. The bill is sent to every Board customer as a means to identify that particular customer. The bill also makes the customer and the Board aware of what is owed by that customer when they come to the Board office to make their payment. It is less costly for all Board customers, if when making a payment in the Board office, the customer brings in the bill that identifies their account and the amount owed. This also serves to make sure that their individual account is correctly credited for payment and a part of the bill is returned to the customer and serves as a receipt for payment. This saves the customer and the Board money by more efficient usage of time and resources. If a customer chooses to not bring their bill with them to the office, then the Board, in an attempt to recover the cost of researching and verifying the customer’s account balance and printing a receipt, will charge that customer $1 at the time they pay their bill. This will pass the cost to the individual customer rather than spread the cost to all customers.

Again, the Board values each customer and remains committed to providing the highest level of service at the lowest possible cost to all customers. Our rate structure has been and remains one of the most economical in the area and the service we provide our customers is our highest priority. Our customers deserve nothing less.

Rodney W. McCain

General Manager,

The Utilities Board of the City of Oneonta