Petal institutes new look on water bills

By HASKEL BURNS,

By now, most Petal residents have probably noticed a new look to their water bills, with a design city officials hope will be more convenient to customers.

Mayor Hal Marx said the new bills, which were instituted Oct. 1 and feature bold red and white headers, were adopted to give better service to residents and provide savings to the city.

“I think the bills are more easily read and understandable for the customer,” he said. “They look better, and they’re also cheaper for the city to be able to mail out.”

The new bills are printed and mailed by Laser Print Plus, a digital printing company in South Carolina. Previously, the city purchased the cards and did the printing for the bills, so the move to Laser Print Plus is expected to save the city approximately $5,000 per year in supplies and postage.

The new bills prominently display the due date, the amount owed by the due date and the amount owed after the due date in the top right-hand corner, as well as in the bottom left. Customers can find their usage numbers in the top left corner, along with a breakdown of fees for residential water, residential garbage, residential sewer and sewer treatment.

The bottom portion of the bill gives other information such as Water Department hours and other options to pay, including the department’s kiosk and online payments.

“I have not received any direct feedback on it, but I think they look better,” Marx said. “I think they’re easier to read, as far as what your billing statement says – you can tell more clearly what costs go with which charges, and the late fees are more easily understandable.

“The main thing for me, though, was that it’s going to save us money on actually doing the mail-outs; it’s cheaper for this company to handle it rather than for us to do it. Every little bit helps, and if we can cut costs in some way and help to save money, then that’s what we’re going to do.”