In an effort to continue providing bill paying services through online card processing, as well as to offset service fees of over $7,500 annually to the utility customers, Osceola Water Works will be instating a convenience fee of 2.65% for each customer making their water utility payment with a debit or credit card. This fee will be applied to the billing program at the end of the day on December 27, 2019. Access to a new payment portal through the OsceolaWaterWorks.com web site will reflect the changes on the same date.
Since its inception, fees for card processing were absorbed into the operation costs for the utility and shared across all water works customers. With ongoing needs for treatment chemicals, increased utilities, infrastructure repairs, water main breaks, as well as in an attempt to keep Osceola water rates as low as possible, the Osceola Water Board of Trustees made the move in a recent board meeting to apply the convenience fee solely to the customers utilizing the card payment service.
Taking into consideration the average household pays approximately $62.00 per month for a utility bill, the convenience fee applied for paying with a debit or credit card will only come to $1.64 for that amount. While not a huge cost for each user, multiplied by the number of cards processed through the system each year, the utility needed to make sure the fees were applied judiciously, recouping costs without passing them on to customers who choose to pay in other ways.
“The board has been reviewing solutions for the processing fees since late in 2018,” said Brandon Patterson, Water Superintendent for Osceola Water Works. “The final decision was made to alleviate the costs at the lowest rate possible.”
The 2.65% fee, offered through GovPayNet, is the best rate available for this convenience service and the Osceola Water Board looks forward to working with this new company.
As the board reviewed solutions for the card processing fees, notices have been placed on statements sent out in the mail as well as made through news and updates on OsceolaWaterWorks.com. The customer service team also worked to remind card payers that the convenience fee would be instated before long.
For those that would like to avoid the convenience fee, payment options such as cash, check, money order, dropping your payment in one of the two drop boxes, or auto withdraw (ACH) from your bank account are still available and welcomed at no extra fee.
Also, as a convenience to water works utility users, the option to “Go Paperless” by having your utility bills sent directly to your email inbox is also available. To set that up, simply go to osceolawaterworks.com and click on the “Go Paperless” promotional link on the home page or go directly to http://osceolawaterworks.com/go-paperless-with-osceola-water-works/ to learn more.