By Mark Barnes
Kuna City Treasurer John Marsh is a man on a mission. His goal is to streamline resident’s utility billing to make it as simple and easy as possible. He is working on this project on behalf of Kuna’s Mayor Greg Nelson who made this issue a campaign promise.
The goals are simple; to increase available payment options, provide access to residents for historical billing reference on their properties and to be as efficient as possible, in turn saving the city money.
“It started out as a two-headed monster,” said Marsh as he began trying to figure out how to merge irrigation assessment billing and the other city-managed utilities which includes water, sewer and trash. Electric and natural gas billing is handled through other utility companies.
“We want to merge billing in to one statement,” he said. “But, it has proved to be problematic. So we’ve slowed that process down.”
Currently, Kuna uses a company to handle the mailing out and processing of utility payments. Marsh said that they are looking at software solutions that will allow the city to handle all of its own billing and collections in-house. Under consideration are features such as auto-deduction from bank accounts, mobile phone applications, phone-in bill paying, credit card processing, e-billing and traditional paper billing.
In addition, as residents get close to bill deadlines, they are looking for software features that will provide electronic e-notices and phone message reminders. This will save money over costly mailed reminders to pay bills.
By this summer they hope to have chosen a direction that will show cost savings on billing.
Changes residents see now in their utility billing are the ability to pay irrigation assessments in installments. Remodeling is also under way at city hall in anticipation of moving utility billing and management under one roof.