At the first of next year, Great Bend residents who are behind in their city utility bills will get one fewer warning before things get shut off, City Administrator Kendal Francis said.
Beginning Jan. 1, “city employees will no longer go door-to-door to collect late payments,” he said. The shut-off dates for water and sewer services are listed on the utility statements residents receive, and they will also receive a red card informing them they are delinquent.
But, that is it.
“Now, they won’t get that last chance,” he said.
Currently, Francis said, after the red cards are sent, city personnel go out and make collections. They are able to take credit cards, checks or cash.
But, there are problems. This bogs down manpower and there are liability issues with the staff members carrying cash, Francis said.
Here’s how the city’s utility billing system works.
Water and sewer payments are due on the 28th day of the billing cycle, said City Clerk Shawna Schafer. Customers are divided into one of four cycles.
After that, a 5 percent late fee is applied. Also, the reminder/red cards are mailed to the customer, a process that gives the user another week to 10 days to clear the account, Schafer said.
Now, the next step is the knock on the door, but that is going away, she said. If a city employee shows up at a house, it will be to shut off the service.
Residents can continue to pay as they have in the past. Payments can be:
• Mailed to Front Door facility at 1615 10th St. in Great Bend.
• Dropped off at the city’s Front Door location at 1615 10th St., or the drive-through there, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
• Dropped into any of three drop-box locations – located near the drive-through window at the Front Door, 1615 10th St.; adjacent to the front door of City Hall, 1209 Williams; and inside Dillons, 4107 Tenth St., at the Customer Service desk.