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Council considering debit, credit card fees

Action would add 3 percent processing charge

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POSTED: June 4, 2013 9:20 a.m.

Richmond Hill could soon start requiring residents to pay a 3 percent processing fee if they use a credit or debit card to pay water and sewer bills.  
At it's last meeting, City Council members unanimously approved the first reading of an amendment to the city revenue’s ordnance that would require the fee. The council is expected to hold a second reading and take final action on the amendment at its meeting at 7:30 tonight.
Two weeks ago, finance director Bob Whitmarsh told council members it cost the city some $30,000 in service charges last year to accept payments using Visa and MasterCard.
“It’s starting to be a little bit of a cost for the city to absorb,” Whitmarsh said.
The fee will be assessed regardless of whether some pays in person or online. Residents who pay with cash, by check or through an automatic bank draft won’t be assessed the fee if it’s approved. Council members will vote on the amendment at their June 4 meeting.
Richmond Hill isn’t the only local government to assess such fees. Bryan County charges a 2.25 percent fee for credit card payments and $2 to pay by debit card, according to its website. The county charges a flat 2.5 percent fee to pay online, with a disclaimer noting all fees go to the credit card vendor.
The city’s amendment also authorizes a $20 fee for bounced checks and notes “the finance director may require coins to be wrapped in authentic bank coin tubes or wrappers if the amounts of such coins equal or exceed,” 50 cents in pennies, $2 in nickels, $5 in dimes or $10 in quarters, the amendment said.


 

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