Thousands of Clark County residents might be able to pay utility bills and other county payments online with a credit card by the end of the year.
The Board of Clark County Commissioners approved the opening of bids for allowing online credit card payments at Wednesday night’s meeting at Springview Government Center. They’re hoping to have the payment systems available later this year or early 2014.
“We have a demand for it,” Clark County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said. “We’re hoping to have it up and running and soon as we can. We know it’s something we really need to do.”
Commissioner John Detrick called it “a step into the 21st century” for county government.
“We’ve got 11,000 water and sewer customers, and this gives them another avenue to pay us,” Detrick said. “It’s just a convenience.”
The county could use up to four different vendors for the services, including First Billing, Govolution, Gov Pay Net, Paymentus, according to Kennedy, because each vendor can interface with the different systems used by each department.
The services will be paid for through a convenience charge collected for the online bill pay.
“We don’t have to pay anything,” Kennedy said. “There’s still costs in changing websites and things like that.”
Kennedy was unaware what the convenience charge cost would be, but said it will be “a nominal fee.” The city allows residents to pay utility bills online, charging approximately $3 per $100 paid.
Kennedy said the immediate focus is on water and sewer billing, but other departments could begin accepting online payments this year. The only bill residents can currently pay online is dog tag registration through the auditor’s office, which has a separate statute under the Ohio Revised Code.
Kennedy said some county offices are ready to begin accepting online payments, while others are not, meaning the program’s implementation will take longer for certain offices. The decision to use online bill pay will rest with each elected county official in that department.
They’re still ironing out the details on which departments will have online capabilities.
“It really depends on what department and which elected official,” Kennedy said.
Mad River Twp. resident Kathy Voytko was excited to hear the news at Tuesday evening’s meeting. She said the only bill pay she has to write a check for is her water bill.
“Now I’ll be able to pay it online like everything else,” Voytko said.
She believes the option will help residents save time through automatic account withdrawals.
“Most people, young people especially, would rather pay everything online,” Voytko said. “It’ll be great. We’ve been waiting a long time for this.”