City council ponders late fee grace period
Baldwin residents could be given a little leeway in paying their utility bills.
The Baldwin City Council is considering extending the grace period five days before rate payers are assessed a penalty for non-payment of utility bills.
Council Member Nancy Brown said the grace period would make it easier for those community members who don't receive paychecks when their utility bills are due. That would allow them to pay their bills without being assessed a penalty for being late.
Currently, utility bills are due on the 10th of each month. Late fees are assessed the following day. If the new ordinance is approved by council, late fees would not be assessed until the 16th of each month.
City Clerk Peggy Nichols told the council she sends out approximately 200 letters on the 11th of each month notifying residents of late fees. She said around 100 of those still aren't paid by the 20th of each month.
In a memo to the council, Nichols said the utility committee agreed with the five-day grace period.
She said the grace period, which would reduce the amount of late fees collected by the city, should not affect the budget.
"For the most part, we under budget for penalties being collected and have not relied on those amounts to fund the utilities," Nichols said in the memo.
Monday's meeting was a first reading on the ordinance. The council will make a decision on the grace period at the next meeting.
In other business, the city council:
- Approved in a 5-0 vote the appointment of Assistant Utility Director Bill Winegar to the Douglas County Emergency Management Board.
- Had a first reading for the ordinance considering rezoning FireTree phase IV from zone A-1 agriculture to zone R single-family.
- Heard a concern from Council Member Tony Brown about parking for the Baldwin City Public Pool.
"On peak days, people are parking wherever they want to," he said. "This is a serious issue."
He said the safety committee will be looking into parking options to ease the problem at the pool.