City Council Approves Agreement To Provide Electronic Bill Payment Services


At Tuesday morning’s meeting, the Brownwood City Council unanimously approved an agreement between the City and Paya, a Nuvei company, to provide electronic bill payment services.

Nuvei provides full electronic bill payment services to municipalities including payments by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, E-Check and other payment options. Nuvei eliminates the middleman by both accepting the payments and processing them as well. The change will offer better service to citizens at a lower cost, according to City staff.

Highlights include:

• Removal of Tyler Insight fees of $1.25 per transaction, saving $51,480 in first year

• Reduction of credit card processing fees, saving $36,654 in first year

• Lower cost Automated Clearing House (ACH) options

• Enhanced e-Billing featuring direct links which should encourage participation, saving $6,336 a year in billing costs

• Live agent call center for phone payments including support for non-English speakers

• Automated reminders for payment due dates

• Auto-Pay + Schedule payment options

• Enhanced mobile experience

Staff plans to implement with the Utility Billing department only initially and then evaluate other facilities that could benefit from the change. The total potential savings for the first year is $94,470 and $283,410 after the first 3 years with increased participation. Plans are for the new service to go into effect hopefully during the month of August.

Also Tuesday, the Council approved engaging an engineer for capital improvements at the Landfill and authorizing the use of the remaining Certificate of Obligation funds for the projects.

With the completion of Landfill Cells 14-16, the total cost came in less than the issued $9 million Certificate of Obligation. Due to fuel savings and the overestimated expenses for dirt removal, there is approximately $1 million remaining. After discussion with the City’s Financial Advisor, spending the remaining funds on eligible capital improvements was encouraged.

The Certificate of Obligation was written to allow for the funding of other improvements as long as they are long-term infrastructure items located at the Landfill. Since the projects listed below have been identified as future capital projects, City staff recommended the following projects:

1. Engineering – $85,500

2. New office building for the recycle center – $100,000

3. Improvements to the storage building – $60,000

4. New cardboard bailer building – $170,000

5. New oil recycling shed – $15,000

6. Paving project – $350,000

7. Replace the north and south perimeter fence – $120,000

8. Clean out water retention ponds – $40,000

Total – $940,500

Approximate Contingency amount – $59,500

The City listed these projects in priority order and recommend engaging with an engineer to complete the necessary design work and solicitation of proposals. Staff will bring any project back to the Council for approval if the cost is over $50,000.

Following Executive Session, the City Council approved Economic Development Executive Director Ray Tipton to begin negotiations with County Waste Service of Abilene – a full service disposable company with a range of services from curbside garbage pickup and residential trash collection to construction site dumpster rentals and heavy industrial hazardous waste disposal – for a lease not to exceed 4 acres off FM 45.

The City also approved City Attorney Pat Chesser to negotiate a potential settlement with home owners at 2514 Good Shepherd and 2516 Good Shepherd for property damages.

During the citizens comments portion of the meeting, Eugene Galloway, Erma Hall and Marcus Watson spoke regarding the City’s future intentions for the Bennie Houston Center. At a City Council meeting earlier this year, the City Council revealed potential renovation plans for the Center that could cost up to $12 million, while recommended renovations to downtown Brownwood could also total up to $12 million. Plans on how to pursue the projects in terms of both time and money spent have been discussed, but nothing finalized.

Also Tuesday, Mayor Stephen Haynes read a proclamation declaring May 14 as ‘Ike Hall Day’ in honor of the Brownwood Lion senior who won the UIL Class 4A boys triple jump state championship in Austin on May 2, and also brought home a bronze medal in the long jump.