UTILITIES COMMITTEECOUNCIL PRESENT:
MARCH 1, 2011
11:00 – 11:35 A.M.
Chair, Virgil Clarkson, Andy Ryder, Jeff GadmanSTAFF PRESENT:
Greg Cuoio, Scott Spence, Scott Egger, Troy Woo, Peter Brooks, Pam Meredith, Carol Litten COUNCILMEMBER GADMAN MOVED TO APPROVE THE AGENDA. DEPUTY MAYOR CLARKSON SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED.
UTILITY BILLING CHANGES
Troy Woo, Finance Director, briefed the Committee on utility billing changes.
Approximately 9,000 of the City’s utility customers are billed once every two months and approximately 13,000 customers are billed each month. This does not include any water consumption. City staff proposes all accounts that are billed every two months change to a monthly billing cycle. This will help customers with their monthly budgeting.
The change allows customers to take advantage of automated and recurring payment options and allows for easier planning. To alleviate any hardships this transition may cause, any late penalties could be eliminated until their next billing.
In addition to transitioning all customers to monthly billing cycles, staff recommends consolidating four billing cycles per month to one cycle per month. Staff proposes that the single billing occur on the 4th Friday of each month. Three out of the four current billing cycles will be impacted by the transition. The transition will result in the billing cycle to be extended in the month the transition occurs, which will result in a longer billing cycle. Two of the billing cycles’ transition will include seven weeks of usage, and one of the billing cycles will include five weeks of usage. The same approach of sending a separate letter of explanation and treatment of late penalties will be employed.
The cost of transitioning the utility billing cycle changes is estimated at $17,000, or one-quarter of 1%. It is anticipated that the transitional cost will be absorbed through other savings in the budget. The cost estimate for additional postage generated by monthly billing is $2,500. Staffing levels will remain the same with two meter readers, who are doing replacement and installs.
This proposal will allow staff to consolidate and concentrate certain aspects of utility billing into one week. Staff will be able to use the other three weeks to accomplish other duties.
If these proposed utility billing changes are approved, the implementation will be completed on June 24, 2011. The implementation should be completed prior to the irrigation season, which would magnify the impact.COUNCILMEMBER RYDER MOVED TO ACCEPT STAFF’S PROPOSAL TO TRANSITION TO A SINGLE BILLING CYCLE, AND TO CHANGE ALL ACCOUNTS THAT ARE BILLED EVERY TWO MONTHS TO A MONTHLY BILLING CYCLE. COUNCILMEMBER GADMAN SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED.