Paxton considering accepting online water-bill payments

PAXTON — The possibility of Paxton residents being able to pay their bi-monthly water and sewer bills over the Internet is being considered by city officials.

Rob Pacey, chairman of the city council’s community committee, broached the idea during February’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Pacey suggested having his committee meet at 6 p.m. immediately prior to the council’s March 13 meeting “purely as a study session” to discuss the idea.

“We’ve batted around the idea of online bill payments for water bills ... for quite some time,” Pacey told his colleagues. “I won’t say that I hear about it every day, but I probably hear about it once a week: ‘Why can’t I pay my water bill online?’

“I’m not here to tell us, one way or the other, that we should or shouldn’t do it. But it would behoove us to look at our options.”

Mayor Bill Ingold said he was aware of the public’s desire to see online payments as an option.

“The comptroller/treasurer (Tammy Jensen) and I had that very discussion yesterday,” Ingold told Pacey. “We started looking at two envelopes sitting there on a desk (at City Hall), and she told me, she says: ‘Ya know, you’ve got to get into new times and how people pay bills online.’ She said, ‘That’s the way that it works.’

Jensen said that with a new computer system at City Hall, online payments would not be a problem.

The March 13 committee meeting, Pacey said, will be “purely a study session to look at what vendors (are available) ... in terms of that process.”

The committee is comprised of Pacey and aldermen Linda Glad and Susan Satterlee.

Other business
Also at February’s monthly meeting:

➜ The council approved a donation of $250 to Pheasants Forever.

➜ The mayor said that he and Alderman Rob Steiger attended a meeting in Charleston with representatives of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (IDCEO). “We spent four hours, I suppose, with them down there, talking about (changes to) the revolving-loan fund,” Ingold said. “We’ll probably get together and have a meeting of the (finance/budget) committee, and the rest of the council can sit in later on and see how those changes (to the revolving-loan fund) are going to be.” Ingold said the revolving-loan fund program, started some 20 years ago by IDCEO, is set to be terminated at the end of 2020. Steiger told his fellow aldermen that the city needs to find a way to spend down its remaining revolving-loan funds, which can be loaned to businesses for the creation or retention of jobs. Ingold described the recent meeting as “a good meeting,” adding that “we didn’t get the exact answers we wanted, but we’re going to work through it.”

➜ Steiger, chairman of the council’s public works committee, said his committee met earlier to decide what public-works projects to pursue in the long term. Steiger said the city should look into the possibility of using some of its remaining revolving-loan funds to complete some of the projects identified. Meanwhile, the committee called another meeting for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at City Hall, 145 S. Market St., to further discuss street-repair and infrastructure projects.

➜ The council discussed but took no action on the city’s proposed participation in the Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network. For a fee — which Paxton Emergency Management Agency Director Ed Hanson estimated to be $100 to $200 — the city could join the network, which would involve other communities providing assistance to Paxton’s public-works department in emergency situations. “They’ll bring equipment in to help us,” Hanson said. “We were looking at it because of ‘what-if’s’ — storm damage, things like that.” The council postponed voting on the proposal, however, because Public Works Director Mark LeClair said he would like more information before proceeding. “The situation would work and everything, I just need more information,” LeClair said. The council made plans to vote on the proposal at its March 13 meeting.

➜ A representative of Tnemac Company Inc. was in attendance to thank the city for its participation in a contest sponsored by his Kansas City, Mo.-based company. The so-called Tank of the Year contest involved nearly 1,000 communities whose water tanks were repainted by the company in the previous year. Of those, 180 advanced to online voting. Based on the vote totals, 12 finalists were selected. From there, a Tank of the Year and a People’s Choice Award winner were selected. Paxton’s newly repainted water tower on the city’s west side was named one of the 12 finalists. As a result, the water tank appears in a calendar produced by the company.

➜ The mayor said a representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture was expected to be in Paxton on Feb. 23 to speak to city officials about “various funding opportunities — including grants and loans — through the USDA.”

Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County


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