Utility Billing returns to 'business as usual'

The City of Melissa Utility Billing Department has announced that the transition to a permanent billing and payment processing system is complete. Customers who have yet to establish accounts within the new system may do so by visiting www.municipalonlinepayments.com/melissatx.  

The completion of the transition means the department is now returning to normal operations. The sudden and poorly-managed demise of FATHOM, the City’s former third-party billing processor, occurred in late November last year, pressing the staff to create and implement stopgap measures for utility payment processing.

With the assistance of an area consultant, staff took the billing and payment process inhouse, a procedure that required long hours, innovative workarounds, and correcting errors left behind by the defunct company. The almost five-month transition period has now concluded.

During the transition, Utility Billing staff was focused on getting meter readings coded properly, assigned to the correct account, and billed accurately. The transition presented challenges to the staff that it had not previously dealt with and required much of the work to be done manually for the almost 5,000 utility accounts.

The transition also meant that, because of the additional processing required for late payment penalties and disconnections, these actions were temporarily suspended. The end of the transition and the return to normal procedures now means that penalties for late payments and disconnections, when warranted, will resume with the next billing cycle. Utility bills are currently being distributed via email and postal service. The next billing due date is June 17.

In summary, customers may pay their bills in any of the following ways.

• Online through www.municipalonlinepayments.com/melissatx.  
• Write a check payable to the City of Melissa and deposit it in the drop-box in front of City Hall.
• Mail a check made payable to the City of Melissa to: City of Melissa, Bank Lock Box Dept #531, PO Box 3689, Sugar Land, TX 77487.
• Use the bill pay feature from their bank or credit union accounts, if available. This option requires users to update their bank or credit union with their new Utility Billing Account Number. Using the old number will cause delays.
• Credit or debit card payments via the interactive voice response system at 866-261-7377.
• In-person payment by cash, check, debit or credit card at the Utility Billing Office at City Hall during available office hours.

Payment plans for account holders who can demonstrate a necessity are still available and can be approved after consultation with Utility Billing staff.