City approves increase to fees charged for overdue utility bills
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
May 01, 2014 | 1907 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Each month, several hundred Moab city utility and accounts receivable bills go overdue by more than 30 days, according to Moab City Treasurer Jennie Ross. Those bills will be increasing after the Moab City Council approved an increase in late fees assessed to overdue accounts.

Ross said that out of approximately 1,800 bills that are sent out each month, around 300 go over the 30-day limit. In the past, the city has assessed a 1.5 percent late fee. Many of those accounts are late routinely, she said.

“When their bills are only $30 or $40, it doesn’t amount too much,” Ross said.

Moab City Manager Donna Metzler said the low late fees are not working to discourage residents from paying their bills late.

“The small fee encourages people to take advantage of it,” she said.

According to a memo prepared by Moab city staff, the late fees on city issued bills have not been increased since 1990.

During their April 22 meeting, Moab City Council members approved an increase that will bump the fees from 1.5 percent monthly, or 18 percent annually, to 3 percent monthly on commercial accounts and $5 a month for residential accounts.

Council member Gregg Stucki expressed some concerns about the impact on area residents.

“Obviously there are a lot of chronic non-payers out there, but there’s always that case where it’s somebody’s grandma,” he said.

Metzler said that the treasurer’s office is willing to work with individuals who may have extenuating circumstances.

“If people come in and talk to us, we can work with them,” she said.

Council member Kirstin Peterson said the increased fees are needed to reign in the late payments.

“It’s important to point out that the treasurer’s office bends over backwards to work with people,” Peterson said. “We can’t have all of these bills outstanding like we do.”

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