Ferdinand pushes autopay for utility bills


FERDINAND — If you’re a Ferdinand resident and you run into Clerk Treasurer Tammy Miller, she’ll probably ask if you’re signed up for utility bill autopay.

The free service automatically deducts funds from customers’ bank accounts on the 10th of each month — or the next business day if the 10th falls on a holiday or weekend — and sends them directly to the Town of Ferdinand. While the town has offered the service since 2014, Miller and her staff have been advertising it hard the past few months.

“It really saves us a lot of time,” Miller said. “We’re trying to keep our efficiency up and our costs down.”

Miller estimated that her staff spends the equivalent of about three days a month processing checks that come in for utility payments, with most of the work happening around the 25th of the month when the bills are sent out and around the 10th of the month when payments are due.

So far, about 360 of the town’s 1,100 utility customers have signed up for the program. Those customers still receive their monthly bills, but now the bills come with a reminder not to send payment. For patrons who pay on time every month, Miller said, there’s no reason not to sign up, as it’s one less thing for them to have to remember to do.

“I think it helps everybody on both ends,” Miller said.

It should be noted that autopay is not the same as using the bill pay feature through a bank. When patrons use their bank’s bill pay feature, the bank still writes Ferdinand a check that the business office must process. Using autopay eliminates the need for a check.

Pushing autopay is part of Miller’s overall mission to make sure Ferdinand’s business office is running as smoothly as possible. She’s been looking at processes throughout the office since she took over as clerk-treasurer in January 2018, and saw the autopay program as a way to save the town both time and money, something she said is important as the town continues to need utility rate raises.

To sign up for autopay, patrons can stop by town hall, 2065 Main St., and fill out the application. They will also have to give the business office a voided check. Applications are also available on the town’s website or at local banks.

Find the application here.

As an incentive, the office is running a prize drawing for anyone who signs up for the program or who is already in the program. Prizes include umbrellas and lawn chairs from Old National Bank and blankets, lawn chairs, a goody bag and a mystery box from German American Bank. 

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