It is October, which means the quarterly bills for the water and sewer are being sent out from the Hellertown Borough Authority. Yes, the bill is different this time around. It is not the same as it has been for the past 10 years or more. But there is a reason for this, and I would like to try to help everyone understand the difference.
Let me start by saying, we appreciate our customers and their input. We take your comments seriously and we are always seeking ways to improve. There may be times when the Authority’s actions may seem different than what citizens are anticipating. Let me reassure you that every action we take is customer-focused and a way to improve our water and sewer system, whether that be through a new valve, replacing a waterline, studying our sewer system, and yes, even changing our billing.
These new bills contain all the information a customer needs: the usage, the meter readings, the amount due and when it is due by, and any penalty assessed for non-payment. The account numbers and addresses are needed, as they are for reference, for both the customer and us. This account number is arbitrarily assigned and is not related to any personal information. We do not collect personal information, other than name, address and phone number.
I realize the style of these bills, a postcard, may not be a preferred style for everyone. It is a format commonly used by utility providers. But again, in the interest of the customer, let me briefly provide two reasons why this postcard suits our approach of customer focus. First, this postcard costs us less for postage. The total savings in postage per year will be approximately $3,000. Additionally, the cost savings associated with the postcard stock, and fewer hours spent on processing equates to about $2,000 or more per year. That is a savings of $5,000. While that may not seem like a very large number, it represents an approximately 17 percent savings overall in our general materials and supply budget line item. That is a large number for a smaller water and sewer authority. It is also a savings that helps us control our variable costs.
Secondly, when I began at the Authority, one of the things important to me was environmental stewardship. As water and sewer purveyors, we have a duty to protect our source of supply and our natural resources. We can certainly help that cause by creating less paper waste in the forms of paper consumption and envelopes. We are responsible for providing safe drinking water for the Borough of Hellertown, and sanitary sewer services, but are responsible to the environmental community as a whole.
We hope to work through this change with you and keep you updated as needed. Our dedicated office team spent months preparing our new billing and accounting software to create even more efficiencies in our operations. As a utility, we must continue to grow and look for options to control costs within our capabilities and also to take care of our infrastructure. The Authority will be in operation 80 years as of May 2020. Many things have changed and evolved over that time, and we are looking to continuing the progress previous boards, administrators and employees have made for this Authority and its customer, the Borough of Hellertown.
Hellertown Borough Authority Administrator
Note: This is an opinion editorial submitted to Saucon Source for publication to help promote community awareness of a local issue.