L’Estrange Continues as Holly Administrator – Trustees Developing Utility Bill Payment Policy

Holly Town Administrator Jerry L'Estrange

Holly Town Administrator Jerry L’Estrange

Jerry L’Estrange and the Holly Trustees finalized a work agreement during their monthly meeting, August 5, which will set the parameters of his employment as Town Administrator through the end of 2017. L’Estrange began his duties as interim administrator this past January as a replacement for Marsha Willhite.

The Trustees offered some ideas for a more equitable and standardized utility payment. As it stands now, the town bills on the 10th of each month, but late charges begin to accrue if payment has not been made by the 20th of the month. Mayor Brad Simon explained that this policy can leave some residents a little short on their monthly budget. “We’ve had situations where the utilities can climb during the summer months by several hundred dollars and people aren’t prepared for that,” he explained. He also told the Trustees that arrangements had been made to accommodate the requests of some residents who are paid only once a month or are on fixed incomes such as Social Security.

Another consideration is businesses with a larger staff have a wage calendar that is different from the town’s billing cycle.  Simon added, “We want to be fair to all our customers, but we don’t want to get into the position that if we made allowances for some, than it may look like we’re playing favorites.” He continued, “We need a written policy on who gets exemptions and the reasons why so the front office is covered with a documented policy.

Town Clerk, Megan Jara said arrangements have been allowed for one time emergencies, or when a family gives prior notice that they’ll be out of town for the billing cycle and the town has allowed the late fees to be waived. She added, “If the post date is on the 20th of the month, we don’t consider that a late payment when we receive it.” Other suggestions included moving the billing date to the 5th of the month or pro-rating or averaging a customer’s payments over the year. Simon said there’s a problem with pushing the mailing date back, “It takes about three days to read the meters and that won’t give the front office much time to process the bills and put them into the system.” The Trustees will review these and other suggestions before making a decision, as well as informing the public before any changes are introduced.

By Russ Baldwin


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