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City announces changes to fee billing

Jul. 05, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The city of Huntington is making changes to the appearance of its refuse and municipal service fee bills and has added an online payment option.

Instead of the postcard-sized bill that residents get in the mail, they will now receive a sealed envelope with an enclosed 81/2-by-11 inch paper statement and a return envelope. The change provides additional customer privacy by sealing the statements in an envelope and assures more accurate and timely processing of payments, said Deron Runyon, the city's finance director.

The changes took effect with the municipal service fees that most residents were expected to receive in the mail Tuesday. The new-look refuse fee statements will be mailed Aug. 13.

The larger paper statements also allow the city to include a credit card payment option. The city has accepted debit and credit cards as a form of payment in person or over the phone, but the option was not listed on the postcard-sized statements because of space limitations, Runyon said.

"Other than the credit card payment option box and a bar code that we will add in the near future that will help us even more with internal processing, it's the same information that you are used to seeing on your bill," he said.

Multiple bills going to the same address will arrive in a single envelope to keep processing costs at a minimum, Runyon said.

The city also will accept online bill payments if they are made directly between a customer's bank or credit union and the city. Runyon said customers should check with their financial institution to make sure they offer an online bill pay service.

When setting up online payments, customers are advised to include the entire account number for the fee and to set up a unique online bill payment account for each individual fee to ensure proper crediting of payments.

"We've been doing something similar to this for a while, but it required the bank to send us an actual check, and it could take up to five days to process," Runyon said. "This will allow us to process payments much quicker.

"The long-term solution is a direct online payment system through the city's website, but that's still probably a few years off. We just started with new software, and that option is an additional piece of software that we don't have yet."

Payments can still be made in person between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in room 20 at City Hall, 800 5th Ave. Accepted forms of payment are cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard and Discover. An after-hours night deposit box is available in the alley behind City Hall. Cash is not accepted in the night deposit box.

Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter @BryanChambersHD.

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