The 22,000 utility customers of the City of Lacey will soon have to pay their bills the first part of each month.
It’s a change for most of the city’s utility customers, who were either on two-month payment cycles or monthly cycles with due dates scattered throughout the month, said Troy Woo, city finance director.
“We’d like more consistency with due dates,” Woo said. He added that after the city phased in automated water meters in 2009, four different monthly billing cycles were no longer necessary.
The phasing in of the consolidated billing process is under way.
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The 9,000 customers billed every two months received their last two-month bill Feb. 25 and will get their first monthly bill March 25. Woo said the monthly billing for water, sewer and stormwater services will help customers who have a tougher time budgeting for two-month payments.
During the transition, many bills will reflect a few extra weeks of usage as the city switches all customers to the same payment date.
“Yes, your bill will be higher, but you’re not paying any more,” Woo said.
In fact, it will be the city paying more.
Sending out all those bills at once will cost the city more in postage, Woo said.
Woo expects the city to spend about $19,000 more a year, partly offset by about $2,500 in savings because the city won’t send bills out during the first of the month, when it is charged a premium rate by the company that mails the bills.
Woo said the city will mail a separate notice and include the information on its website to make sure utility customers aren’t surprised by the changes.
The city says implementation of the new payment cycle should be finished by the end of June.
Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/outsideoly