BANFF – Banff residents and businesses will be given the option of making their utility bill payments monthly to help with cash flow troubles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council has given authority to the director of corporate services to opt into monthly payment plans for water and sewer utilities for 2020, rather than the existing quarterly payment program.
“What we want to do, with an eye to helping businesses and residents manage their cash flow, is offer a monthly payment plan,” said Chris Hughes, the Town of Banff’s corporate services director.
Presently, ratepayers have the option to enrol in a pre-authorized utility payment plan for automatic withdrawals from their bank account, which covers the quarterly utility bill on the due date.
Under the new monthly option, for the billing period March-June, one third of the payment would be due Aug. 31, another third Sept. 30 and the balance on Oct. 31, for example.
“In order to enrol in this monthly payment plan, previous balances would need to be paid up in full,” said Hughes.
Councillor Peter Poole wanted to make sure that people who pay by cheque, rather than pre-authorized payment now, can also take part in this program.
“Most people are comfortable now with doing pre-authorized payments directly from banks, but there’s still some people who rely on hand-written cheques and sometimes they issue postdated cheques,” he said.
“It may be we could make sure everybody is eligible for it. It would be a small group of people, but I didn’t want to exclude them if they were wanting this too.”
Administration indicated this could be an option for individuals.
“Within the bylaw, Mr. Hughes does have some flexibility to work on payment plans with individuals, so if there was concern, that could be worked out with individual residents,” said Town Manager Kelly Gibson.