UPDATE: 70 West Sentinel received the following additional information from the City of Wentzville:
Just FYI this will actually go back to the board next week for a first reading, as it will need to be passed via ordinance. So, if passed, this would not in fact be in place until Feb. 1. This is a surcharge separate from a convenience fee to, for instance, pay online. The convenience fee to pay online is a third-party fee that is not charged or received by the city.
The Wentzville Board of Aldermen gave the go-ahead to city staff to start charging a convenience fee for residents to use credit cards for payment of utility bills, parks fees, permits, and court fines.
At last week’s board of aldermen meeting, Director of Finance Jeff Lenk told the board that the city was losing about $88,000 a year in credit card fees and suggested that the city pass that surcharge on to the residents.
Lenk said that a two percent fee would cover the city’s costs for credit card processing. “For an average utility bill of $177, that would add $2.34 to the transaction,” Lenk said.
Residents have the option of using cash or a personal check to make the payments instead of a credit card. “People have a choice,” Alderman Rob Hussey said when stating his support for the decision along with Alderman Michael Rhoades.
Alderman Matt Swanson asked that the change not be implemented until February in order to give residents two complete billing cycles to be notified of the change.
Lenk said that the current system could be easily adjusted for the two percent surcharge and could be ready for the January statements. The board decided that it would be better to have the change in place at the beginning of the year instead of waiting.