UNION — The City of Union could soon begin charging a fee when credit cards are used to pay utility bills, property taxes, business license fees and permits, and fines.
In his presentation to Union City Council on the proposed 2014-2015 municipal budget on Monday morning, Finance Director Walker Gallman pointed out that since the city first began accepting them in 2005, the use of credit cards by the public to pay utility bills and property taxes, by businesses to purchase licenses and permits, and persons convicted of crimes to pay fines has increased. He said that credit card transactions are increasing monthly, with a total of 1,671 credit card payments made both in the office and online in February alone.
Gallman said that whether they are used to pay utility bills or property taxes or fines, or to purchase business license fees and permits, the city pays a 2 percent fee on all credit card transactions, either online and in the office. He said that in December, 62 tax payments were made using credit cards at a total cost to the city of $446 in fees.
Utility bills can be paid using a credit card either in person, over the phone, or online. Payments for property taxes, fines, and business license fees and permits must be made either in person or over the telephone.
In addition to the fees, Gallman said that the city is charged 25 cents for each online credit card transaction.
Despite the cost involved, Gallman said the city has never passed on the cost of these transactions. He said if the city chose to do so, the fee it would charge on these transactions could not exceed the fees it has to pay.
Automatic Bank Draft
Gallman also discussed an alternative to credit transactions and any fees the city might charge.
The alternative would be automatic bank drafts which customers could use to pay their utility bills.
Gallman said that the automatic bank draft option could be used at no cost to the customer and no additional cost to the city. He said this could be a possible incentive for customers to sign up for such a service, adding that it has the potential of enabling the city to save on increasing credit card costs.
The proposed credit card fees and the automatic bank draft option are included in the proposed 2014-2015 budget.