“The City of Eastland is once again offering the free opportunity for its citizens to level out the peaks and valleys that come with paying their utility bills”, said Leslie Zander, Eastland’s Director of Finance. “Beginning now through the end of February, residential customers may apply to enroll in the Average Monthly Payment program (AMP). Under this plan, the City will average twelve months of utility billing so a customer can level their payments throughout the year”, she added.
The program was first set into motion last year when suggested by a citizen who was tired of paying larger utility bills in the summer due to watering her lawn. “We weren’t sure we could make this happen when the suggestion first came to us. After researching it, however, we were delighted to discover it is compatible with our utility billing software”, added Nora Benavides, Eastland’s Utility Billing Clerk. The program was then announced and some 70 customers took advantage and registered last year.
Zander noted that it is important that prospective enrollees understand and follow the program guidelines. The enrollment period ends February 28. To enroll, a person must have had water and sewer service at their address for the past 12 months, so a monthly average can be established. The enrollee must also have a good credit standing with the City. Accounts with a history of being on the cut off list for non-payment of their bill or with a history of returned checks will not be considered. Persons having multiple accounts must have a good credit standing on all accounts, not just the one being considered for the AMP Program.
To enroll, citizens need to come by City Hall and complete an application. After processing it, a City staff member will contact them, relaying the amount of the averaged monthly billing. If the citizen wants to proceed based on that information, they will be enrolled. Otherwise, the monthly utility billing will continue unchanged.
If a person signs up for AMP and later drops their account or wants to discontinue participation in the AMP Program, their account will be analyzed and “settled”.
“Since this program will level out bills and make personal budgeting easier, we hope it will also inspire more people to sign up for automatic utility payment by bank draft. That would make life easier for everyone”, Zander concluded.