CITY COUNCIL

Councilmen Marty Novak and Gary Roach listen during the St. Joseph City Council meeting Monday.

The St. Joseph City Council voted unanimously to have customers pay a processing fee for most electronic payments and not just credit cards, as the previous ordinance stated.

When someone pays bills electronically with a credit card or check, there is usually a small processing fee. For years, the city has been paying those fees for city customers.

In December, the city decided to stop absorbing processing fees for online debit and credit card payments, which placed the cost on customers. The city said this would save about $400,000 to be used for other services.

However, other online payments, like electronic checks, were not included. On Monday the council voted to include those other methods.

“Obviously, if there’s costs involved in transacting those, we need to look at that,” said councilman Marty Novak. “When you start talking $300-400,000 in costs in order to make that happen, we need to look at how we can recoup that, because not everybody pays their bills that way. If you pay your bill with a regular check it’s not going to affect you.”

To avoid those processing fees, customers can mail a check, pay in person at city hall with a check or cash or set up automatic recurring credit card payments online.

Other notable bills and resolutions that passed:

Rent assistance

Two resolutions totaling $500,000 were approved unanimously by the council. These funds will be used by Community Action Partnership of Greater St. Joseph and Catholic Charities for rent, mortgage and utility assistance.

City Manager recruitment

St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray sponsored a bill to allocate $30,000 for recruitment costs of the city manager position. These costs include moving and relocation expenses. Councilman Kent O’Dell amended the bill to reduce the amount to $10,000. The new amount was approved unanimously by the city council.

No parking

The council unanimously voted to prohibit parking on the east side of Leonard Road from Hunter Drive south about 500 feet. Councilman Madison Davis was concerned this would just create parking problems on the west side of the street and recommended prohibiting parking on both sides of the street. This proposition must go through the Traffic Commission before it can be voted on by the city council.

Community survey

The St. Joseph Community Alliance has sent out their most recent Community Survey. The council voted 6 to 3 to allocate about $3,000 for this survey. Councilmembers who voted against said they were worried the pandemic would skew some of the results.