Brownwood City Council members approved an ordinance on first reading Tuesday that eliminates fees charged to customers who use credit cards to pay bills to the city.

State law allows municipalities to charge a fee when accepting credit card payments, and the city charges 3 percent for in-person charges and 4.5 percent for online charges, council members wee told.

The city has been using a company called RevTrak as its credit card processing company. With the transition to different software two years ago, the city has been able to accept credit cards with far less services needed from a host company, council members were told

The city has accepted a quote from ETS Corp. to provide credit card services at less than half the $12,000 to $14,000 yearly cost of RevTrak, a cost that has been passed on to customers.

City staff believes eliminating the fees will increase payments, speed up the receipt of revenue, reduce costs to customers and improve employee efficiency, council members were told.

In other business, council members:

• Heard Mayor Bert Massey read proclamations declaring May 1 through June 14 as National Military Appreciation Month; recognizing Marie Atkins as Brownwood’s first “Tax Lady”; and declaring May 18-24 as National Public Works Week.

• Held a public hearing on closing an alley between Coggin Avenue and Avenue E, from Fifth Street to Sixth Street. The council approved an ordinance on first reading to close the alley.

• Approved closing the back half of Riverside Park July 18-20 for the Abilene Gypsy Motorcycle Club.

• Approved a parade permit for the Juneteenth parade beginning at 11 a.m. June 19.

• Approved the temporary closure of Almond Street and the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Hall Street beginning at 5 p.m. June 20 through 1 a.m. June 22, for Juneteenth.

• Received a petition to close an alley located in the 1600 block between Melwood Street and Comanche Street and agreed to call a public hearing.

• Approved a fiber lease agreement between the City of Brownwood and Harris Broadband for $750 a month. Harris Broadband connections provide benefits including faster speed and less cost than the city currently has with Verizon connections, which are inadequate and expensive, council members were told. Several city buildings will be connected with fiber optic links.

• Agreed to add property at 109 Melwood, which is across the street from the Ark shelter, to the Ark’s lease with the city. The Ark will use the property for parking and the construction of a storage building.

• Authorized city staff to request bids on a landfill compactor to replace the current compactor.

• Awarded a bid of $59,735 to CCI Spectrum of Florida to clean and rehabilitate surfaces in the Camp Bowie lift station.

• Authorized the purchase for the Sanitation Department of a roll-off truck for $131,152, and side-loader truck for $167,593, from the Texas Association of School Boards purchasing cooperative. Both items were previously approved in the 2007-’08 budget.