Great Bend residents who are behind on their water bill now have an alternative way to pay off what they owe, City Administrator Howard Partington said.
He told the City Council Monday night that the Water Department has begun accepting mobile payments when they are out Tuesdays during shut-off visits. A credit/debit card can be swiped on the spot to avoid service interruption.
Prior to this, an individual would go to the Front Door and drop off a payment to avoid losing service. However, Partington said some of these payments would result in returned checks.
Not the case with plastic, he said. If a debit card has insufficient funds, the card will decline leaving the option of another form of payment.
“We are hoping to see a reduced number in returned checks and an increase in collections as a result of this,” he said.
The mobile payments are taken using an iPad and Square Reader.
The payment option was under Partington’s departmental update. Other highlights included:
• Crews are spraying for weeds throughout the city as we have taken over most of the “War on Weeds” program.
• Sanitarian: 299 year to date complaints, 64 new complaints (14 by citizens, 50 by staff), 50 complaints completed by citizens, 11 abatement notices sent and 38 vehicles brought into compliance.
• Chief Cliff Couch and Lt. Rick Harper met with the Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir, Barton County Dispatch, Barton County IT, and other area chiefs to discuss the possibility of switching to a new type of dispatching/records program.
• The Warrant Task Force had a successful night on April 17. They arrested four individuals with outstanding warrants. During a traffic stop, they also located and arrested a man in possession of meth. In addition, they worked with the Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and Ellinwood Police Department to obtain a search warrant for a drug dealer’s house in Ellinwood. They helped these agencies serve that search warrant, and more arrests should be forthcoming as a result.
• The Department is currently recruiting members and purchasing equipment to start our bike patrol program back up for the spring and summer.
• Honor Guard participated in the funeral of a retired Pratt fire chief.
• The Open House committee continues to plan for the Guns and Hoses Open House on May 2.
• Staff introduced the first treatment of alum into Veterans Memorial Lake Monday morning. This is the first step in the new campaign to eliminate the toxic blue-green algae that plagues the lake.
• Great Bend High School games started at the Great Bend Sports Complex last week. The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship Tournament begins next Wednesday at the complex.
• The pool is being prepared for the upcoming season.
• Community Coordinator Christina Hayes said that next Wednesday is the partnership with Great Bend High School Community Service Day. There will be 300-plus students will be on city grounds.
• Preparation is underway for the KCAC tournament next week. City staff and the Great Bend Recreation Commission staff have been preparing for another year. “Special thanks to the KCAC Ambassadors helping represent our community,” Partington said.
• The Wine and Art Walk, Guns & Hoses Open House, and World Binturong Day with Poppy at the zoo are three events coming up that Hayes has worked with other departments in helping promote.
• Mayor Mike Allison, council members Allene Owen and Vicki Berryman, Partington were in Washington DC last week attending the Western Kansas Congressional Staff Briefing and Reception along with representatives of Hays, Liberal, Garden City, and Dodge City.