Aldermen review utiilty payment data | Local News
DANVILLE — As Danville City Council aldermen continued discussions this week about a possible change in city hall hours, Comptroller Ashlyn Massey provided aldermen with information to questions that have been asked about utility payments to city hall.
For June (billed in July), the city billed 11,596 accounts. Of those, 1,536 (13%) are on city automated clearing house draft auto-pay from people’s financial accounts. A citizen also can set up auto-pay or perform one-time payments through the city’s utility billing portal. This represents 34% of all payments.
Mail payments and in-person counter payments are 37% and 16% respectively. In the 30 days prior to the date this data was collected, the city received 6,204 payments. One payment can apply to multiple accounts.
The finance department also processed more than 200 receipts outside of utility billing totaling $331,373 for July. In finance (not clerk’s office or legal division), it processed 1,243 in-person payments in July. There were 20 open business days in July. This breaks down to an average of 62 payments per day in-person. This is on top of the 2,295 mail payments they processed as well.
For in-person counter payments, evaluated from Monday, May 1 through Friday, Aug. 4, Mondays are the highest volume of payment days. In the data set, there were two due dates on Mondays but also a holiday where the city was closed.
In-person payments: Mondays: 709; Tuesdays: 456; Wednesdays: 526; Thursdays: 591; and Fridays: 618.
Massey also addressed questions about the drop box outside of the city hall doors on Main Street. The city doesn’t advertise that as a possible way to pay bills. Massey said there are several reasons why, including that the drop box is located in another division/elected official’s office.
“While the relationship with the treasurer’s office is currently very positive, it has not always been and may not always be. Due to past experience, I do not like my team to enter other divisions’ spaces unless it is absolutely necessary or they are specifically invited,” according to Massey.
She also states the drop box is not dependable. The drop box was the original night deposit box when the city building was a bank. It is very old and has many problems, she said. Sometimes, weather conditions cause rain and debris to get into the safe, which can damage or ruin payments and/or payment stubs. Sometimes, payments get stuck on the ledge between the opening and the interior of the safe. Also, the lock is not usable and therefore is not locked, according to Massey.
Massey continued stating the payments the city receives through the drop box are often incorrect. Part of their procedure when city employees accept payments at the counter includes reviewing the check to ensure it has a signature, the written amount matches the number amount, the check has an account number on the memo line, etc. Payments that come through the drop box have a much higher chance of being inaccurate and unusable, Massey said. They also sometimes are coupled with hateful messages, she stated.
“When someone is not forced to give something face to face, it is amazing what they will write down,” she says.
If a check is incorrect, the city has to track down the check owner and get a corrected check.
If a citizen calls and asks about the city’s hours and when they can come pay, if the city’s current hours and other payment options do not work for them, they will mention the drop box.
In other business this week, the Danville City Council’s Public Services Committee recommended approving: purchasing two replacement one-ton dump bed trucks for the sewer division at a cost not to exceed $187,000 through a governmental cooperative purchasing contract; and authorizing backup system upgrade for the information technology division at a cost of $43,600 for year 1, and $40,103 for years 2 and 3. The full city council will act on the purchases at its 6 p.m. Sept. 5 meeting.