Modesto will not be charging customers a fee for using a debit or a credit card to pay their utility bills or for parking in one of the city’s three downtown garages.
The City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday unanimously supported a staff recommendation not to impose fees on these transactions.
This comes after the council in June approved charging a 2.4 percent service fee for customers who use plastic to pay for other city transactions. Staff asked for more time to look into fees for utility bills and parking. The council also exempted charging a fee for the purchase of monthly passes and ticket books for Modesto Area Express buses and Dial-A-Ride because it believed the fee would be a burden.
Finance Committee members also asked staff to bring them a report next year to review the fees the council did impose. Councilman Bill Zoslocki — who serves on the committee and cast the only vote against the fees in June — said he’d like the city to abolish the fees.
City officials have said the fees recoup what companies charge the city for processing credit and debit card payments. Officials have said those fees are about $500,000 annually, with utility payments making up more than two-thirds of the total.
A city report said there would be problems if Modesto were to impose fees on parking and utility bills. A fee on parking would increase the time it takes motorists to pay as they leave the garages because they would have to make two payments: one for parking and one for the fee.
Modesto was considering charging a roughly $3 convenience fee for customers who use debit or credit cards for utility bills. But the report says as staff researched this they determined it would result in significantly higher costs for the city that it could not recover from customers.
Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316