I think this is something that is a choice and I think we have to look back at transaction costs.
— Peru Alderman Tom Payton
Peru’s City Council discussed recovering credit card fees for municipal utility payments during a finance committee meeting late Monday.
Alderman Tom Payton said the city is waiving credit card fees because of COVID-19. He said the elimination of the fee was to help people during the pandemic and make it easier for citizens to pay remotely and go paperless.
Peru’s Treasury Officer Tracy Mitchell says paying by credit card is a convenience and a choice. If residents don’t want to pay the fee, they have other options, such as dropping off or sending cash or check.
“I agree, I think it’s a choice and I think we should revisit transaction fees,” Payton said.
City Clerk Dave Bartley said because scheduled utility payment due dates are irregular, automatic card payments are the easiest way to pay bills. Peru’s bill cycle runs every four weeks, as opposed to being due on the same day each month.
Mayor Ken Kolowski said the lack of credit card fees was costing the city money. By returning it, he said the city could get closer to breaking even with what the city charges and what residents pay.
“I would go to the full 3% (cost). That’s what I’m going to do,” Kolowski said. “This is being done everywhere, the cities around us are doing the same thing.”
Corporate Counsel Scott Schweickert said the city cannot benefit from credit card fees. The city has to break even on utility payments or pay out of pocket to fund the difference. Schweickert said the 3% fee would get the town close without even going through it.
On the city’s live Facebook broadcast, a resident commented against refunding fees. Payton said it would continue to be discussed and explored. No action taken.