This week, Dothan utilities customers are noticing major changes on their bill...changes that could be surprising or even confusing.
The city is in the process of converting from a nearly 20-year old billing system...to something that is supposed to make the paying process simpler for the city and the consumer.
But right now, a rocky transition is making the change far from easy.
This new system was purchased three years ago...and finally went into effect October first.
And for the past several months...those in the utilities and finance departments have been on a learning curve, operating the system and finding new functions.
Then--of course--there are the kinks...for the city and the consumers
Dothan City Manager Mike West says, "The biggest issue they've found out right now is that it used to be, we had 3 billing cycles. Now, we're actually going to be able to bill daily. So one of the first concerns people have expressed is that billing dates have been changed as we convert over."
But consumers will also notice a format change.
Coloring, line spacing and items on the bill have a re-arranged look.
And while there's been some confusion and complaints about this new system, city officials say they've also had positive feedback.
One of the most immediately appreciated changes is that sprinkler and water meter bills have been consolidated into one.
"I just had a call this week about a woman who was thanking us...because she not only pays her bills, she pays her mother's, too...and rather than having 4 bills, she only has 2 bills now."
Another added convenience...is when the system is completely switched over, consumers will be able to pay their bills online and have constant access to their account. City officials are hoping to have the system completely switched over within the next six months but say it could take as long as a year.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the new billing system, can call the city's customer service hotline at 615-4100.