FERNDALE, Wash. — A chronic complaint by some of the City of Ferndale Utility‘s 5,000+ customers has been the inability to easily check the history and balance of their accounts and then make payments online. City staff are now saying that an inexpensive solution available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week that addresses these complaints is hoped to be available by the end of the year.
Vision Municipal Solutions, the company the City has been using to handle the bi-monthly utility billings, has been contracted to provide the online portal system.
The system will have a 1-time up front cost to the City of $2,500 and an ongoing annual fee of $500. These costs will be in addition to what the City is currently contracted to pay Vision for utility billing software and services.
Implementation of the system and training of City staff will be done by Vision and their partner, Invoice Cloud, who will provide the online portal system that works in concert with Vision’s billing system.
Currently, Vision provides the City with utility billing services and another company, Databar, receives that data from Vision and formats it onto printed invoices and mails them to all utility customers.
Under the new system, utility customers will be able to opt to receive their invoices via email instead of printed versions via postal mail.
City staff told My Ferndale News process to launch the online billing portal is expected to be a 6-month and their goal is to be online by the end of 2021.
Once the new online portal is launched, Ferndale Utility customers will be able to see their account statements online, pay online and pay by text-message along with being able to update their contact information and setup billing notifications.
Currently, utility customers can call, email or visit City Hall if they have a question about how much they owe on their account. Payments are currently able to be made by check or online payment with a credit card (if the balance due is known). Payment by phone is also available using a credit card. Automatic funds transfer to deduct the amount due from a bank account is also available.