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Board Recap: Village Takes Next Step in Online Bill Payments

Trustees approve agreement with Merchant Services, Inc. to handle online water and electric bill payments for residents.

The Village Board took the next step in allowing residents to pay their water and electric bills online as well as with their credit cards by approving an agreement with Merchant Services, Inc. to handle the electronic payments at Monday's board meeting.

Trustee Ed Oppenheimer was the lone trustee to vote against it, saying that he wanted a different vendor to handle the payments and that the agreement did not specify a third-party assurance for online payments. The agreement, however, was passed with the stipulation that some sort of protection for resident payments be added into the contract.

"If it doesn't have that assurance, I think it's a disservice to the residents," Oppenheimer said.

In other news, Police Commissioner Charles Gennario noted that though it is the holiday season, it is also a time when criminals strike and burglarize homes. "Criminals shop too...in your homes and cars," Gennario said. He urged residents to keep valuables out of sight, use lights and alarms, and keep presents in the trunk of your car.

John Cameron and Jeff Greenfield, chairmen of the Mayor's annual golf outing that raises money for the RVC Community Fund, said this past outing was the most successful in its 24 year existence. The outing netted about $60,000, Cameron said. The RVC Community Fund is money collected from residents to help other village residents who are in financial trouble.

The Board also recognized the South Side High School girls soccer team, who won the New York State Class A championship. Members of the Sandel Senior Center's musical group also entertained the board and audience with their renditions of holiday songs and carols.

EJ's son December 14, 2011 at 02:41 PM
By engaging a third party instead of developing the technology in house, the Village guarantees there will be a charge. The third party's processing fee will be passed through to the bill payer, otherwise the Village will be losing money on every on-line transaction. I'd be angry if there is not a charge. That doesn't mean its not worthwhile - it gives people another option, which they can take or leave.
Marc December 14, 2011 at 03:13 PM
I use Merchant Services, as well as, I'm sure, many businesses in the Village . Of course there is a charge, which most businesses eat. We have found taking credit cards speeds up the collection process and enhances cash flow. I would not be against paying a small service charge for the convenience and the mileage. Just don't make a profit off it. Since I have choice,I see no problem. If you actually run a non-service industry business, you might agree. Nice to see the board moving into the present.
EJ's son December 14, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Marc, I think we do agree that the choice is good. I am for the flexibility this contract offers. It is nice to see the Board move to the present. That said , you can't compare retail sales to billing for water and electricity. Let's face it, a retailer is not "eating" the transaction fee - he is building it in to the costs of doing business. The merchant prices every product in his or her store appropriately to cover these (and other) costs and still clear a profit. Water and electric are metered transactions and you pay for exactly what you use and rates are regulated. Fees paid to Merchant Services come directly from the Village's bottom line. The only way to fairly administer the program is to pass through the transaction fee - exactly as charged, no more no less.
Marc December 14, 2011 at 07:26 PM
And as I said I am not opposed to that...However this may streamline the collection process and reduce departmental costs (i.e.staff reduction), thus eliminating the need to pass on the cost or certainly minimalize it. However, knowing government as I do, and having witnessed the inability of this board to come to any unamimous decision, I doubt that will be the case.
Mickey December 14, 2011 at 10:03 PM
I am happy to see the board moving us into the present! I love that RVC will be offering the convenience of paying online. I would like to say thank you to the board members who voted for this....and for the one board member that continues to do nothing but act as an obstructionist.....whatever....yawn.


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