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City looks at water bill changes


We’ve all thought about how nice it would be to not get that water bill in the mail each month. Well, here’s a piece of news for you. City leaders would be happy to quit mailing it to you.

Instead, they want to e-mail it to you each month.

Yeah, I know, that’s not exactly what you had in mind. But the chances of the city deciding to stop charging you at all for your water, sewer and trash service are pretty remote.

But city commissioners on Wednesday said they may be willing to give you a bit of a break on your bill if you would agree to receive your bills via e-mail only. That, of course, could save the city a significant amount of money on mailing and postage costs each year.

Lawrence residents currently can sign up to receive their city utility bills via e-mail. But the city’s billing department reports that most people who are signing up for the service also want a bill mailed to them as well.

Commissioner Mike Dever, at a city budget study session, brought up the idea of creating an incentive program to get more people to sign up for e-mail only service.

“If we did it right, I think we might have 5,000 households in the city that would take advantage of a program like that,” Dever said. “I think it could save us some money.”

Mayor Rob Chestnut — who sees many bills in his job as a chief financial officer for a local company — said there are several companies that offer a $5 or $10 credit if you agree to receive 12 months of statements via e-mail only.

“Once you’ve gone through a year of it, I think most people would stick with the system,” Chestnut said. Commissioners directed staff members to look at how a program could be created, and what type of incentive would work for the city’s finances.

The city is projected to spend about $45,000 this year in printing of utility bills, and about $145,000 in postage for the bills. With an expected postage rate increase, the city expects to spend about $167,000 in postage for utility bills in 2010.


workinghard 8 years, 11 months ago

Here's a thought, how about if you receive your bill by e-mail, you can pay for it online for free. I cannot believe we still have to pay extra if we want to pay online. I can pay my taxes and tags online but not my water bill.

avoice 8 years, 11 months ago

You also pay a fee for online payment of your Douglas County taxes and tags. The minimum is $1.00 and there is an extra processing fee if you use a credit card.

workinghard 8 years, 11 months ago

I would not mind a $1 fee to pay the water bill but the fee for that is much higher. I gladly pay the $1 fee to pay the taxes since a stamp is 42 cents anyway.

Chris Ogle 8 years, 11 months ago

Good idea, Mr. Dever..... now you are thinking. Small expense really do matter.... keep at it, man.

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