Casper Council Considering Having Citizens Cover Credit Card Fees for Utilities
At the Casper city council meeting on Tuesday, the council discussed putting forward a resolution that would increase the cost when people pay their utility bill if they use a credit card, rather than with cash or a check.
Jill Johnson, financial services director with the city, said that the city is currently charged a 1.3% fee per credit card purchase whenever someone pays their utility bill.
Johnson said that in order to save the city money, they should pass that cost onto the citizens in the form of a 2.95% fee if someone were to pay their utility bill with a credit card.
City manager Carter Napier said that they still need to work out some of the kinks in the resolution, but that they hope to put something before the council to vote on in mid-October.
Napier said that the reason citizens would pay 2.95% instead of the 1.3% that the city currently pays, is because the 1.3% is only offered as a discount to the city and wouldn't be available for citizens.
They are not able to lower that percent, and Napier said that if they could lower it they would.
For the 2023 fiscal year, the city budgeted $192,576 for credit card fees, and that by passing the cost on to citizens who use credit cards, the city would save $168,500, as $24,076 of the total comes from recreation which would not be included.
This discussion Napier said is also part of the wider discussion the city has been having around what it can do to save money, along with looking to reduce the subsidy the city pays to various community resources like the ski area and Fort Caspar Museum.
Vice Mayor Bruce Knell said that it is good for the city to do this change so they aren't subsidizing people that decide to use their credit cards and that people are already used to paying extra.
"I know if you use your ATM card, generally, at any ATM that's not owned by your bank, you're paying a fee to get your own money," Knell said. "I think the public is quite used to this...I don't think this will put a strain on the public. I think they're already doing it, most people are, and I think that money would be better suited for things of the city, and I don't think all taxpayers should be paying for those that decide they want to use a credit card. I don't think that's fair."
Once it is approved, the city anticipates that it won't be implemented until Dec. 31, and would require a one-time purchase of $10,725 to update card processing equipment.
Napier said that while this resolution is only for utilities, they hope to be able to expand it to other areas where people use credit cards to pay the city, and are only doing it for utilities in this resolution because it's provider specific.