Brownwood City Council members will consider approving an ordinance on first reading Tuesday that would eliminate 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, an agenda briefing sheet prepared by Finance Director Walter Middleton states.
The city uses a company called RevTrak as its credit card processing company, which provides Web hosting and software transactions because the city lacks the ability to take care of those services in-house.
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, the briefing sheet states. 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.
“We would like to discontinue charging fees to accept credit cards and absorb these lower credit card processing fees in our budget,” the briefing sheet states. “Many customers refuse to use credit cards because of the fees that we charge. This sometimes results in bills (mainly municipal court fines and utility bills) not being paid.
“In any case, customers are accustomed to being able to use their credit cards and are shocked to learn we charge a fee for accepting them. Finally, it takes time to explain to customers and ring up the additional charges, generally less than $2, for a credit card transaction. We believe that eliminating credit card processing fees will increase payments, make our revenue streams timelier, reduce costs to our customers and improve employee efficiency.”
The council meets at 9 a.m. at City Hall. The entire agenda follows:
1. Call to order
3. Items to be withdrawn
4. Canvassing votes — 2008 Special Election
A. Reading tabulated results of the May 10, 2008 Special Election. Consider an ordinance on first/final reading canvassing the votes and declaring results of the May 10, 2008, Special Election.
5. Introduction, announcements and recognitions
A. Recognition of the Brownwood Explorers, Post 1150.
A. Proclamation declaring May 1 through June 14 as National Military Appreciation Month in the City of Brownwood.
B. Proclamation recognizing Marie Atkins as Brownwood’s first “Tax Lady.”
C. Proclamation declaring the week of May 18-24 as National Public Works Week.
7. Citizen presentations
To comply with provisions of the Open Meetings Act, the City Council may not deliberate on items presented under this agenda item. The citizen may request, or the council direct, the subject matter be formally placed on the next regular council agenda. All presentations may be subject to time limitations.
8. Approval of minutes: Regular meeting, April 22, 2008.
9. Claims and accounts
10. Public hearings
A. Council to hold a public hearing regarding the closure and abandonment of an alley in Block 30 of the Ford Addition, being located between Coggin Avenue and Avenue E, from Fifth Street to Sixth Street.
Upon the completion of the above referenced public hearing, council may consider an ordinance on first reading regarding the closure and abandonment of the alley located in Block 30, Ford Addition, between Coggin Avenue and Avenue E, from Fifth Street to Sixth Street.
11. Consent agenda
A. Consider approval of closing the back half of Riverside Park on July 18, 19 and 20, 2008, for the Abilene Gypsy Motorcycle Club.
B. Consider approval of a parade permit for June 19, 2008, beginning at 11 a.m. in celebration of Juneteenth.
C. Consider approval of a temporary street closure request for Almond Street and the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Hall Street beginning Friday, June 20, at 5 p.m. through Sunday, June 22, at 1 a.m., 2008, in celebration of Juneteenth.
D. Council to receive a petition to close an alley located in the 1600 block between Melwood Street and Comanche Street and consider calling for a public hearing regarding the same.
12. Ordinances and resolutions
A. Consider the amendment of an ordinance on second reading establishing a stop sign southwest bound on Godwin Street (which is to be amended to read Goodwin Street) at Austin Avenue and a yield sign northeast bound on Godwin Street (which is to be amended to read Goodwin Street) at Vincent Street.
Consider an ordinance on third/final reading, as amended, establishing a stop sign southwest bound on Goodwin Street at Austin Avenue and a yield sign northeast bound on Goodwin Street at Vincent Street.
B. Consider an ordinance on first reading amending ordinance No. 03-51 regarding the charging of credit card processing fees.
C. Resolution authorizing participation with the Steering Committee of Cities served by Oncor.
13. Contracts and agreements
A. Consider approval of a fiber lease agreement with Harris Broadband.
B. Consider approval of first amendment to the lease agreement with the Ark to add additional property.
A. Consider authorization for staff to receive bids on a landfill compactor to replace the current compactor.
B. Consider awarding bid for the cleaning and rehabilitation of concrete surfaces in the Camp Bowie wet well.
C. Consider authorizing the purchase of roll-off truck and side-loader truck from the Texas Association of School Boards purchasing cooperative and authorize capital lease.
15. Ratification of mayoral appointments to the Building an Standards Commission and the Tow Truck Committee.
A. Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Bureau quarterly report.
B. General reports.
17. Executive session
The City Council may convene into a closed executive session, pursuant to the provisions of the Open Meetings Law, Chapter 551, Government Code Vernon’s Annotated, in accordance with the authority contained in the following section:
Section 551.071 — consultation with attorney
A. Claim made by Brownwood couple.
B. City Council may receive legal advice and/or discuss legal issues with its attorney on the terms of proposed Meet and Confer agreements with the Brownwood Municipal Police Association and Brownwood Fire Fighters Association.
18. Action as a result of the executive session.