City of Aransas Pass Water Billing Press Release
Aransas Pass Water Billing Changes
Aransas Pass, Texas – June 10, 2016
“Change is never easy and the changes to your Aransas Pass water bill have resulted in a number of questions and comments from our citizens”, said Donna Cox, Finance Director. “We want to take this opportunity to answer some of your questions.”
WHY??? Why did you change things? The short answer is to save you money! The new software we purchased cost approximately 80% less than our old software. This will save the city about $60,000 a year. That is money we can use to repair and maintain our water system. The change to a postcard bill saves on the cost of paper, envelopes and postage. We are always looking for anything we can do to save money so we do not have to raise your water rates.
What do I need to do to pay my bill? You can now pay your bill by bank draft; online with a credit or a debit card; in person at city hall; or mail us a check or money order. You can also drop off a check or money order payment at city hall in our after-hours drop box.
Automatic bank drafting is the easiest way to be sure your water is always paid on time. With this service we automatically deduct your water payment from your checking account on the 15th of the month. To sign up for bank drafting you merely stop by the water department at City Hall, bring us a voided check, and request the service. Then relax – we will handle it from there. You will never again have to worry if you remembered to pay your water bill.
Pay online with your credit or debit card. In order to pay online with your credit or debit card you begin at the City of Aransas Pass’s new website! www.aransaspasstx.gov In the middle of the page is an option to pay online – click this. It will take you to a login page. Follow the steps to register. You will need to have your water bill for information required to register. Some important things to know about the registration process:
- This system requires two verifications – one by you and one by us. When you first register you will receive an email requiring you to verify your email address. Once you verify your email address, be patient, your account is not quite ready to use yet – we have to do our part. Within one business day we will verify your account. You will receive a second email telling you the account has been verified and is ready to use. Or, if there is a problem you will receive an email explaining the problem.
- Common registration problems result from:
- How you enter your account number – you must include the dashes! It has to be in this format: XX-XXXX-XX
- You also must have a PIN number, which is located on your water bill. It is in the middle of the top of the card (in very small print). It is a 5 digit number just to the right of the city address and office hours.
- There is a convenience fee for paying by credit card.
- You also need to be aware that when you accept the terms and conditions for online payment you are agreeing that we can email your bill to you in the future. You will no longer receive a post card bill from us. You will be able to view your bill online and print it if you need to.
Why is there a convenience fee? Did you know the city has always paid a fee for credit card payments? This is a fee that has been absorbed by the city in the past, and as a result, paid by all water customers as part of our total utility expenses. We made the decision that this fee should be paid by those who take advantage of paying by credit card, and not by those who do not use the service. It is just one more way that we are working hard to keep the overall cost of your water service from going up.
Why won’t you draft my credit card for me? Congress passed some new laws about credit cards. (Remember the new chip cards?) Part of this involved putting liability for credit card misuse and fraud on the vendor (the water department). There are also some very strict rules for securing your credit card number. The cost to comply with the new rules is substantial and burdensome. As a result our software vendor decided to limit how credit cards were processed, in order to protect your data. Again, while not the most convenient option, it is something that saves us a substantial amount of money, which we pass on to you by not having to raising your rates.
When will I receive my bill? In the future you should receive your bill within a few days of the first of the month. Our goal is to have the bills printed and mailed on the first business day of the month. In the past we mailed your bills from Aransas Pass, they are now being mailed from Dallas, so be patient. It may take a day or two longer to get your bill than it did in the past.
If I get my bill late, can I have more time to pay? Water bills are due on the 15th of the month. We find that most customer’s bills are close to the same amount from month to month. So, you generally know how much your water bill is going to be. We ask you pay by the 15th. If for some reason your bill is substantially higher than normal, please feel free to contact the water department to discuss special arrangements.
How to I sign up to receive my bill by email? Follow the process outlined above as if you were going to pay your bill by credit card. Go online to the Aransas Pass, TX website. Register, verify your email address, and accept the terms and conditions. That is all you have to do to sign up for email billing. Next month you will get your bill by email. This does not require that you have a credit card.
As with any change people have lots of questions, if you have other questions please call the water department at 361-758-5301 extension 2102 or 2131. We appreciate your patience with our staff as they develop their expertise with our new system and are answering the large number of customer calls that we anticipate experiencing over the next few months. Rest assured our goal is to give you the most cost efficient water department while providing you the best customer service possible.