The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 16, 2013

Council mulls over staff additions

Monthly billing may lead to more staff in department

CLINTON — The city of Clinton is well on its way to monthly billing, but the convenience might require additional employees and a new position in the office responsible for those bills.

City Finance Director Jessica Kinser proposed during the Internal Operations Committee on Tuesday promoting a current employee of the utility billing department and adding two other permanent part-time employees in order to deal with the influx of bills and calls that will be generated by the switch from quarterly to monthly billing.  

“The thing we are just undetermined on is the logistics of what it means to go monthly,” Kinser said.

Kinser estimates her office will go from roughly 2,500 bills and payments each month to 10,000 once monthly billing goes live. This switch will likely occur in May.  

“We don’t know how busy it’s going to get,” Kinser said. “We know it’s going to get busy.”

The finance department has two revenue and utility billing accounting specialists and one accounting assistant in the utility billing area. Kinser proposed promoting a revenue and utility billing specialists to a position of utility billing coordinator. The second position would be a part-time accounts receivable specialist who would be in charge of pursuing delinquent payments and ensuring customers with a payment plan are following the terms of their agreement.

Kinser would like to add a part-time accounting assistant responsible for responding to inquiries at the front counter or over the phone and processing payments.  

Based off non-bargaining wages, the promotion and the two additional positions would carry a cost of $57,563 for wages and another $9,577 for IPERS, FICA and Medicare. Utility billing staff are funded by the water pollution control fund.

“The cost of doing business with these three people when you look at the millions that we’re carrying on the books, the risk is well worth it,” Rowland said.

“Some of these positions are customer service based. If you have a question on your bill and you call we don’t want to have to delay 24 or 48 hours before we can get back to you,” Kinser said.

The item was moved to the next Committee of the Whole meeting.

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