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Q: What is up with this $5 regeneration fee that the Town of Payson Water Department wants to charge if you use online banking to pay one's water bill? It seems to me that with all the computer equipment and software available nowadays that the town could be better served by joining the 21st century and accepting online bill pay without any additional fees, like most other places. Wouldn't it save them money to take direct deposit from a bank?

A: "When people pay online, a lot of times they think that it goes directly into our bank. It does not. It actually generates a physical check in here and shows up in here without a billing stub. For (internal) auditing purposes, we have to recreate every one of those (bar-coded) billing stubs. We get approximately 400 of those checks in here every month from different banks. It got to the point where the additional work to process the checks became overwhelming. Basically it is a processing fee. Even though the account numbers are on the check, once those checks are deposited the paper record of payment is gone.

"Direct pay is the water department's alternative to online bill pay. It has been available for several years. With direct pay, a customer still receives a bill that shows usage, amount charged and date their bank account was debited. Forms to sign up are available at the water department."

Kathy Klein, utility services representative, Town of Payson Water Department

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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