Medford water fee changes will begin on July 1

I've heard rumblings that I'm going to get another utility bill on top of my water bill. Can you tell me if I'm going to have to write two checks now?

— Lewis B., Medford

Beginning July 1, Medford Water Commission will no longer collect Medford city utility fees. So, yes, Lewis, you will have to write two checks — unless you want to leap into the 21st century and pay electronically.

The change comes at the beginning of the city's fiscal year. Payments to Medford Water Commission will simply include expenses related to drinking water and will be described in more detail.

With the division of billing and collecting will come a change in the amount charged to users. According to the city of Medford, some customers' bills will increase and others will decrease, but total revenue won't change and there should be little effect on residential users. Unless you consider an additional stamp a new fee, there are no fee hikes.

And you can even avoid using that extra stamp: The Medford Water Commission will now offer customers online payment options — either one-time or recurring payments — as well as paperless billing. Customers will also be able to view their account history.

The city said the billing changes are designed to make payments fairer, although single-family residences will see little change. A family using 6,000 gallons of water per month will see a monthly reduction of 24 cents, while business customers' bills will rise or decline based on their water usage — or in the case of the street fee, the amount of traffic their businesses are estimated to generate.

The Water Commission payment window at Lausmann Annex will remain, while customers making city utility payments in person can go to a window on the second floor.

Online payers will need to change numbers beginning in July. Those with automatic payment debits from their bank won't have to change anything.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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